James Kimani Mbui’s career was chiselled in the sacco industry. His defining moment was when he was appointed the CEO of Amica Savings and Credit, a firm he has steered for three years
Stories have been told of legendary chief executive officers who seem born for the role. However, most CEOs are not born, they are made through hard work, persistence and commitment. People who aspire for the role have to seize the opportunity and set a path to manage their career choices and capitalise on their experience to make them likely CEO candidates.
For James Kimani Mbui, sitting at the helm of Amica Savings and Credit for three years as the CEO have been a milestone in his career. Within this time he has grown the asset base of the institution from Sh1.9 billion to Sh3 billion, a move any achiever can boast about despite the ups and downs he has gone through. Mbui is a down-to-earth CEO and his experience within the sacco industry has contributed to the person he is today.
He started his career at an early age in 1991 at Nation Sacco. He was an accountant and worked there for three years before joining Comoco Sacco as a manager, a position he held up to 2000. “All my life I desired to work in the banking sector.
Since I was born and bred in the village, I thought that those who work in this sector are the most successful people. Also watching one of my relative who was in this sector succeed made this urge to grow stronger,” he said. In 2001 he joined National Social Security Fund Sacco as a manager in charge of banking/Fosa, but he didn’t work there for long.
After two years he joined Stima Sacco as manager in charge of Fosa, but his aim was to become a CEO one day. He later rose to the rank of a manager in charge of marketing and business development.
After 12 years of service, Lady Luck knocked on his door and in 2014 and he was asked to join Murata Sacco Limited, a Murang’a-based savings and credit cooperative society, which later rebranded to Amica Savings and Credit, as CEO.
“I couldn’t let go of that opportunity and it was like a dream come true because I always wanted to lead people, see them grow financially and transform their lives by better management of their finances,” Mbui said.
Top on his to-do list was to rebrand Murata Sacco that was perceived to be a sacco for coffee farmers only. Mbui’s vision is to transform the institution to have a national outlook and be able to attract youths, businesspeople as well as salary earners.
“My aim is to grow the institution to an asset base of Sh30 billion by 2020. To ensure this comes true, we have added other products such as Investa saving account, Amican Junior and different credit services and new channels,” adds the 49-year-old father of three. He attributes his success to his ability to listen to customers and implement what they tell him and also associating with his juniors in a friendly manner.
“I am always happy when I see a company and its staff grow. I plan to be in this company for a maximum of 10 years and then go back to other businesses because I believe in making a positive contribution and moving on,” he adds.
Currently, Amica has 17 branches and plans are underway to introduce new branches and also agency and mobile banking services. He said people have grown more confident with the sacco compared to mainstream banks because the latter have prohibitive interest rates.
“Kenya’s sacco movement is growing rapidly, thanks to innovation, riding on the expanding mobile platform. Customers now want online access to payments and to carry out financial transactions on a mobile,” he concludes.