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Challenges Facing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies in Debts Collection in Tanzania

Challenges Facing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies in Debts Collection in Tanzania

Mary Oforo*, Crispin John Mbogo
Accounting and Finance Department, St. Augustine University of Tanzania
* Corresponding Author

Received: 02 March 2023;  Accepted: 13 March 2023; Published: 11 April 2023

ABSTRACT

Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) emerged out of the credit system of the old cooperatives that started from different stage during the colonial period. They began as ROSCAs in 1920 and they were common in cash crop producing areas. These cooperative societies mainly focused on providing loan and saving products to their members. Through its emphasis on efficient financial services, many cooperative societies still facing with a challenge in debts collection practices. The study aimed at investigates the challenges facing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) in debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited. Specifically, this study intended to analyze procedures used in debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited, to examine the competence that meets the requirement of Revival Church Sacco Limited, and to assess policies and guidelines used in debt collection and risk associated with credit application at Revival Church Sacco Limited. The main purpose is to ensure proper debt collection practices at Revival Church Sacco Limited. Case study research design was used along with mixed approach, as well as descriptive research for analyzing both quantitative and qualitative research. The study employed stratified sampling techniques to get a sample of 380 respondents out of a population of 7542 SACCOS members in Revival Church Sacco Limited. The tools for the study were questionnaires interviews and document analysis. Findings revealed that there was poor technique procedure in debt collections, lack of staff intellectual capabilities (competence and qualifications), lacked adequate policies and poor internal control in debt collections practices. However, researcher recommended that Organization should revise its receivable management plan to ensure it complies with policies, conducting of effective training and seminars to employees to keep them updated and investing in diversified portfolio. The study concluded that sustainable financial service is the key to efficiency operation hence, Revival Church Sacco Limited should operate in conducive environment which obviously support the overall performance of an organization in debt collection practices. They should observe the good and unique procedures in order to make operation smoothly with imposing a strictly policies and guidelines to ensure all practices are carried in accordance with the rules and regulation.

Keywords- Saving, Credit, Cooperative societies, Debt collection, Challenges

INTRODUCTION

Savings and Credit Co-operatives Societies (SACCOS) are community membership based financial Institutions that are formed and owned by their members in promotion of their economic interests (Nuwagaba, 2012). The Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) aim at meeting the financial needs of all members men/women, old/young, rich/poor in particular, by encouraging savings and granting loans to the members at low interest rate. It is owned by members who manage it. They are involved in socioeconomic development of members and communities. (Anania&Gikuri,2015). They help to promote the total human development; it helps people psychologically   by providing motivation and creating initiative. Also create employment opportunities, support directly community development effort like helping the community to be involved in social services, support the growth of business, improve members’ income, promoting self-development and self-reliance and providing sufficient knowledge and skills to leadership performance. They contribute to individual well-being of each member by promoting their living standards and encouraging them to save and use their income wisely. (Dejene, 1993). The Cooperative Societies Act of 2003 regulating the establishment, registration and regulation of cooperative societies (SACCOS) to encourage savings; provide low interest loans which will facilitate economic and social development. Revival Church Sacco Limited is democratic organizations whose decisions are made in a structure which involve members. There is a member’s board that is involved in decision making and employing workers of the Organization.  There are five (5) board members at Revival Church Sacco Limited. They assign internal and external auditors for auditing their financial statements. The Organization engaged in providing services for the people of Tanzania Mainland only likewise, the ideas of forming Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) differ with different perspectives that were created to solve human financial problems by finding a way of saving and borrowing without taking risks and without handing over too much power to a moneylender.

They were established in south Germany in 1846 during famine due to continuous heavy drought in Europe, by two community business leaders: Freidrich W. Reifeisen and Herman schultze- Delitsche,. Herman schultze- Delitsche, then established a Saving and credit cooperatives for minor artisans and the urban middle classes, and Freidrich Reifeisen, found the rural saving and credit cooperatives. Luigi Luzzatti from Italy combined the principles established by the two German predecessors and formed a saving and credit cooperatives. The two forms spread rapidly across Europe, northern America, Latin America and Asia from 1900 to 1930 and to Ghana by one Catholic Bishop. They purposely need to ensure each member was satisfied with service being provided and consider locations which are accessible by all members without any kind of restrictions. (Tache,2006). In the UK building societies realize that more capital is needed, or they need to escape regulatory restrictions and they will be more efficient after conversion. They admired by customers to be more trustworthy than others in providing financial services. This is due to the fact that from the beginning they did the promotion of the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and Credit Unions with system of building self-supporting thinking and voluntary people established their Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) that based on the philosophy of building self-help society or “people helping people. Likewise, the system become more effective in some countries of Africa between 1965 and 1989 that were intended to solve trade restrictions imposed by the government. Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and credit unions established so as to fight against poverty and ensure sustainability to the people`s economy. (Tache,2006).

Findings from different perspectives revealed the way poverty affect the life of people especially poor, so the mechanism on how to utilize resources efficiently must be provided in order to empower people but if the implication was wrong the provision of credit leads to excessive debt burdens and depressed income growth leaving borrowers even the level where they were before. (Tache, 2006). Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) in Tanzania are formed by individuals who united together for the purpose of improving their life through deploying various resources to promote social and economic development. Through its emphasis on efficient financial services, Revival Church Sacco Limited still faced with a challenge in debts collection practices that may be caused by the Organization policies, procedures and competence of staffs or management in collecting their dues. This problem led organization to perform poor due to large number of Non-performing Loans (NPL) that has a total value of TSH. 934,385,318 and eventually, in order to solve this problem strong audit techniques, proper debt collection procedures should be applied so as to ensure effective and efficient operation. Through strong Internal control, chances for embezzlement and other irregularities should be minimized. Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) focus on improving local economies and to ensure poor people live comfortable through peculiar and strong linkages with community. And consequently, targeted on improving people`s life by making their voice heard. It is an ideal instrument to empower the poor in sustainable way. They are committed to ensure access to local needs and mobilize societies to accumulate funds so as to support a particular group of people. (Tache, 2006). Moreover, the aim of forming Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) is not for profit or charity, but for service. They mostly deal with providing loans to help the members to cover unexpected expense. However, saving is insufficient to finance the majority of people as many Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) are characterized by having a limited source of funds. (Nuwagaba, 2012).

To address this problem Revival Church Sacco Limited should encourage people through Advertising and Promotion that motivates many people to join and start saving and deposits their income hence accelerate more money in circulation. Also, by extending the scope and dealing with all Christians instead of members of Tanzania Assemblies of God only. The Organization should motivate people to pay on due date in order to accumulate more income that assists in disbursing service (loan) at a time. Even though to invest in Money market Institutions which have a maturity of one year or less at a time of issuance and risk is low compared to other source of Investment. This assist Organization to reap more income which contribute to smoothly operation process. Also, to encourage Organization to have their own source of Income like mortgages, real estate and other Investment properties like building that can use for lease and receive rental charge which also add more income to Organization performance. Also, according to Microfinance Act CAP 407 (2) of (2019), Every Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) needs to have at least two members with knowledge of finance, business management, accounting, microfinance or economics. Still is a challenge because many Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) suffer by lacking people that meet those criteria. In order to increase efficiency Revival Church Sacco Limited should employ the qualified personnel with knowledge prescribed by the ACT in performing their duties.

 Eventually the Act Sect.27 continues to reveal that Every Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) shall be managed by competent and qualified personnel by referring to the Cooperative Societies. As regard to this ACT Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) still not employ people that are competent enough to perform duties effectively and this led to challenges especially to huge Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) like Revival Church Sacco Limited that meet the qualification of becoming a bank. Competent and qualified personnel are important asset in any successful Organization. By referring to KSA Framework of Competency which entails that Knowledge, Skills and Attitude add much to effective performance in any particular working environment. Therefore, excellence and experience is required in leadership, inter-personal, operational and organizational performance so as to meet with mission and objectives of Organization (Satyendra, 2020).

According to ACT Revival Church Sacco Limited do not complies with regulation by ensuring that adequate collateral is given for each loan and the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) has a lien or control over the collateral until the loan is paid in full. Revival Church Sacco Limited did not monitor loan repayments and ensuring that the amount owed is used for the purpose for which they were given. This is what led to challenge in its debt collection. Therefore, the non-compliance with rules and regulations may cause Organization to operate poorly as due to its procedures, policies and competence of their employees. Improper debt collection practices at Revival Church Sacco Limited provoked the researcher to conduct the study. To address this problem of non – compliance, Revival Church Sacco Limited should adhere to rules and regulation in debt collection practices and ensure that all techniques procedures are followed for better success of Organization. Also, the Organization need to ensure adequate collateral is given for each loan disbursed and review receivable transactions by checking if all procedures relating to debt collection are properly managed. Eventually, Revival Church Sacco Limited should improve in Internal control system and take into consideration that all risks associated with Account receivables are minimized. And by referring to the ACT lack of competences to Organization management and lack of improvement in science and technology in Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) operation system as compared to other financial Institutions like Banks and Micro finances brought much effects to the success of this Organization. Yet literature did not emphasize on how the Organization can improve in debt collection practices and even though did not give more detailed explanations on how peoples motivated to pay on due date. Through that there is a needs to rejuvenate Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) operation systems in a failed procedures through introducing some incentives and bonuses for those people that pay before the due date and improving in science and technology by applying accounting system in their daily operation instead of manual record keeping which reduce the quality of service being provided to people in different branches and insists in the staff intellectual capabilities in order to rescue Organization and other members of Revival Church Sacco Limited that may likely to suffer.

LITERATURE REVIEW

According to Shukla et al., (2015), Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) is a financial organization owned and operated by its members where all members are equal for the purpose of supporting savings and investing by buying shares to extends loans to members at a fair and sensible rate of interest. They purposely enable members improve their economic and social well-being. Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) are legal institutions registered under the Cooperative laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (2021), in Tanzania (Federal Trade Commission (2020), and Microfinance Act CAP 407 (2019).  Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) are owned by their members through payment of share capital and membership fees to the institutions. They are formed to eradicate poverty by improving the members’ financial conditions by enabling them to access financial services and allow everyone to benefits from their work fairly. According to Backer (2021), insists on centralized or decentralized governance structure in order to ensure efficiency functions of the Organization. Revival Church Sacco that is centralized structure is located in Kinondoni at Dar es Salaam Region as headquarter that handles all branches around Tanzania Mainland to operate effectively so as to ensure better performance in debt collection practices.

Baka (2013) argued that affordable financial credit and investment advisory services in Kenya play a very important role to Cooperative Societies Sector which help in improving economic life and development of all members in a country at large. The study uses descriptive methods and information was collected using interview, questionnaires, text books, journals, magazine and internet. However, the common problems associated with these Cooperative Societies to suffer were poor management of funds, weak legislation, poor leadership, governance and political interference among many others. They will also focus on the leadership as they based on specific objective two of examine the skills and qualifications to meet people’s expectations. But still a main challenge that is affecting Co-operative Societies in Kenya. This study was mainly focused on the leadership problems and the beneficiary of the study was stakeholders. The study aimed to improve the ways they can conduct affairs of the Cooperative Societies. The Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) is the largest coffee farmers’ co-operative union whose membership is made up of coffee primary co-operatives and large-scale coffee growers.  Disputes and management crisis of leadership within the union made difficult to obtain statistical data on membership of the organization. These leadership disputes, corruption and mismanagement have adversely affected its Public Policy and Administration as well as financial performance and organizational stability for a long time. By referring to specific objective three of assessing the policy and guidelines, these problems have frequently caused major disagreements between the Board of Directors and the management.  Indeed, these dispute cause management staffs to resign and Organization started to shake where by other members decided to live and refuse to deposits and save their money to Revival, through this problem Organization is unable to pay workers promptly. It is this delayed payment that is triggering some co-operatives thereby adversely impact income and vibrancy.

The study conducted by Temeche (2014) argued that, the main financial solution of the people who have low-income level is through Savings and Credit Cooperatives Societies (SACCOS). But they were faced with different challenges that affect the economic contribution and financial solution of members. The existence of different challenges in South Wolo Zone, Amhara Region Ethiopia at Kalu Woreda Savings and Credit Cooperatives contribute to low level of development to many Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) as referring to specific objective two of examine the skills and qualifications of management.  The study employed descriptive statistical methods with both Primary and Secondary sources of data were used. Also stratified systematic random probabilities sampling methods were employed to sample the population. It revealed problem like lack of competence and inability of management committee argue that, those problem affect the outreach and sustainability of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS). Even though by referring to specific objective one of ensuring procedures used in loan security are not complied with policy and regulations of Organization. But internally, by referring to specific objective three of assessing policies and guidelines. The Author continues by insisting on problem that affect many Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) community and eventually provide appropriate solutions and recommendations to those challenges. Problems are negative response to Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) through different perceptions and people`s attitude, shortage of funds to facilitate operations, corrupt leaders, lack of competences and poor procedures in loan disbursement, inability to access financial services and long interval between auditing improve in intellectual capabilities, improve in competition in accordance with technological change. The Cooperative responsibilities of Tanzania’s economy is through putting efforts to promote Cooperative in exploitation of human resource which is the path to wealth economy influenced by wider change of social economic conditions.

Anania & Gikuri (2015) insisted that the financial needs of all members in Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) are influenced by its ability to save and grant loans to members. It is willingly and opens democratically to all members who manage it freely without any restrictions. The study was conducted at Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU). The study employed descriptive research design and Secondary data were mostly used where by documented reports, papers, researches and journals were used for collection and in some circumstance primary data were used for the study. Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) play important role in social economic development and facilitate accessibility of financial services to people, create employment opportunities, encourage savings, income improvements as well as better living conditions. Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) has a spiral effect to the community if are managed properly. Those efforts can facilitate Cooperative to achieve social and economic development of their members. However, in the operation of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) challenges act as an obstacle to members in achieving their expectations. The expectations of people were hindering by Internal and External factors likewise, the study, realizes that there is still an effort that Organization should take to improve on the issue of debt collection.  The literature tries to recommend on how Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) can improve in term of good governance and efficient functioning of organization but does not go through on how debt collection process can be improved to ensure people pay on time and all procedures that debt collector used are in compliance with organization rule and regulation.  Also, many cooperative societies in Africa lack improvement in technology which affects Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies and therefore they still in analogy system of operations that contribute to improper debts collection practices. Through that, the study investigates on how challenges should be minimized so as to ensure effective measure towards the organization performance.

Theoretical Framework

A theory of a research study can be supported by the structure which is formulated from literature so as to create a wide understanding in explaining, prediction and challenging existing knowledge, attitude within the limits of critical bounding assumptions. The existence of research problem is introduced, explained and described by theoretical framework (Richard ,2013). This study was guided by Agency theory and Rational Choice Theory. Agency relationship exists as a relationship between manager and shareholder. Through this relationship manager is required to act in the best interest of owner or shareholder, but if it is contrary from what the owner expect the conflicts emerge between them and this is what referred to as agency problem to Organization performance. (Chen, 2021). In case of Revival Church Sacco Limited, the theory creates a challenge in the manner that employees are not satisfied in term of mode of payment like salary, perdiem, and other social benefit like National Social Security Fund (NSSF). These phenomena create misunderstandings between employee and board members for not taking considerations to their welfare. Even though the loans are not provided at a time, and it provided to people that have a close relationship first. Also, the loan officer does not follow procedure when collecting debt from the customer and there is a lot of diversion that creates a conflict of interest. Due to poor procedures in debt collection practices, the organization faced with many non-performing loans which affect operation and reduce money in circulation. According to Transaction cost theory, the cooperative Society Act has a fundamental value in the governance of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) through its legal provision that cut across all Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) while by laws are more specific and can create a difference. The process of selecting and voting for aspiring leaders of Cooperative Societies has been improved by the incorporation of a Code of Conduct for Cooperative Management in the Cooperative Societies Act No.20 of 2003.

According to Rational Choice Theory which entails the idea that people make decision based on what they think will maximize their well-being and bring them the most financial gain. They believe will results in the greatest benefit for themselves. Through this theory Revival Church Sacco Limited has a wide range of economic behavior including costumer choice, loan disbursement and financial decisions. The potential of Sacco is through sustainable development by focusing on poverty alleviation to ensure that the Organization fighting against all constraints. Inability to access financial services especially for households which majority were characterized by low Income, lower financial resources and inadequate information structure and capacity hindering them to reach at targeted outcomes. Efficient functioning of Sacco policies and procedure can help overcome these constraints and help businesses to achieve broad impact by overcoming constraints necessary towards meeting the Organization Development Goals (Endeva, 2013). Revival Church Sacco Limited has to ensure strong decision-making authority which contributes to efficiency operation to all members and employees so as to reach their targeted goal. They have to contribute to welfare compensation of workers, loan disbursements and debt collection procedures follow rule and regulation of Revival Church Sacco Limited, well treatment of employees, conducive working environment and give more chance to people to pursue their carrier development through emphasis learning, training seminars and workshop for the future betterment of organization.

Rational Choice Theory contributes much to this study because it emphasizes the self-interesting utility maximization. Also, it is designed to reduce potential negative fallout of any general, structural changes in a business (Greve, 2015). This theory has a character of combining Agency theory and Transaction theory because their characteristics are likely to resemble. The researcher is motivated to this because the conflict of interest that occurred within and outside the organization will likely to be sort out through emphasis of good governance and utility maximization throughout the organization. Through this goal people will be satisfied and benefited according to the service that provided by Revival and capacity to promote organization will be higher.

Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework is a synthetization of interrelated components and variables which help in solving a real-world problem. Identified issues can be viewed as deductive resolutions towards the study variables. It is considered as a final lens because it summarizes the whole study by means of a diagram (Imenda, 2014).

Conceptual Framework indicating the Proxies on Debt Collection Ability to improve Organization Performance.

Fig.1: Conceptual Framework indicating the Proxies on Debt Collection Ability to improve Organization Performance.

Operationalization of Study Variables

Debt collectors need competence and experience that will develop a positive relationship with the consumer and result in collecting payments. On any given day, a debt collector can perform many duties that require excellent communication, empathy, problem-solving skills, a desire to learn, and proficiency with technology. (Northwood Asset, 2020). Accurate record should be kept and being able to allow changes in address and other contact information used to deliver messages or used as a means to remind customers about their past dues and able to report about the missed payments to credit bureaus. (Indeed Article, 2022). All professional collectors are advised to experience in local collections procedures, legal processes, cultures and speak the same language as your debtor. These factors position to collect receivables with success, while respecting the customer relationships. (Atradius collection Article, 2021). The Organization has to exercise Codes of Ethics that comprise of Principles of Fair Practice to treat debtors fairly as they should not be subjected to aggressive practices, inappropriate coercion, or conduct which is deceitful, oppressive, unfair or improper, whether unlawful or not. Also be transparent in their dealings with debtors and others cause information provided should be clear and should not be confusing or misleading. Revival Church Sacco Limited has to exercise forbearance and consideration, in particular towards debtors that experiencing difficulty.

Culture affects economic performance through channels of cultural traits that motivates and stimulates individual traits to develop social capital in the population. Culture contributes to the social and economic well-being of a community that generate assets such as skills, expression and insight to the community. Both culture and values shape economic development. According to Paola the values held by a society will affect economic development efforts (Paola, 2021). The impact of negative culture in Revival Church Sacco Limited contribute to higher include low employee engagement, higher rates of absenteeism, inflexibility, low employees’ engagements and a lack of empathy and more employee and customers turnover that may be caused by changing of mode of operations and poor performance in terms of loan disbursement and repayment.

Government intervention is required as market failures are pervasive in the financial sector. The major market failures include externalities of monitoring, imperfect competition; and difference between private returns and social returns and finally uninformed or less informed investors. In Revival Church as they face constraints like failure to collect debts and poor availability of secure collateral may likely to cause risks that involved in lending credit to members.  Further emphasized that failure in financial markets is caused by imperfect information in markets and in price. (Arora ,2017).  But government intervention through its rules and regulation can reduce adverse selection and moral hazard problems in Revival Church Sacco Limited and enhance the efficiency of the markets by increasing the amount of information available to its members.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The study was conducted at headquarter of Revival Church Sacco Limited Dar es Salaam, in Kinondoni District. Revival Church Sacco Limited  has 27 branches which operate throughout Tanzania regions such as Kinondoni branch, Ukonga branch, Kimara branch, Segerea branch, Tegeta branch, Temeke branch, Morogoro branch, Ifakara branch, Dodoma branch, Iringa branch, Njombe branch, Mbeya branch, Tukuyu branch, Sumbawanga branch, Arusha branch, Moshi branch, Bukoba branch, Mwanza branch, Shinyanga branch, Songe branch, Songea branch, Karatu branch, Mbinga branch, Tabora branch, Babati branch, Mbulu branch and headquarter branch. It provides services to people of Tanzania Assemblies of God that are in Tanzania Mainland only.

The study applied interpretivist research paradigm and mixed-method approaches where case study research design and descriptive were employed for getting in depth analysis of variables to be studied. This study applied quantitative research design when investigate about the debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited by comparing loan disbursement and collection for different year. Likewise, in qualitative research design the researcher understands how audience takes decisions that can derive conclusions in a way to reveal behaviour of a targeted audience to a particular study (Question Pro, 2022). The study employed stratified and non-stratified sampling techniques to get a sample of 380 respondents out of a total population of 7542 Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) members in Revival Church Sacco Limited. Researcher samples the population by using Yamane (1967)/Slovin formula of population so as to ensure fitness of the sample to the population. The research utilized both primary and secondary data collection methods so as to get the reliable information concerning the field of investigation. In primary data collection, the researcher used interview, observations, focus group discussion, survey both online and paper survey for data collection to collect a piece of detailed information about an issue and distribute questionnaires which based on open-ended questions so that the respondent can respond by writing his/her opinion or perspective concerning a specific topic or issue. Also, the researcher used document review for reviewing the existing documents. While in Secondary Data Collection methods researcher use books, journals articles and online materials through Internet to make some productive decisions. The kind of data that were used by researcher are Audited Financial Statements, Annual General Meeting documents or Pamphlets, by laws from loan department at Revival Church Sacco Limited, Articles and Memorandum of association. Through this study data can be analyzed used Qualitative data such as Factor Analysis, Time Series Analysis and Sentiment Analysis which cannot be measured objectively, and is therefore open to more subjective interpretation. Moreover, Inferential analysis is used to draw and measure the reliability of conclusions about a population that is based on information gathered from a sample of the population by considering the willingness of respondents towards the study and voluntary participate in giving data that support the study variable without any pressure or coercion. Also, Confidentiality and Anonymity were observed in all issues discussed and respect each other`s privacy. Likewise, maintenance of the highest level of objectivity in discussion and analyses throughout the study and avoid any kind of misleading information and biases in representing of primary data information.

FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

The findings obtained help in giving the overall picture of the challenges facing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) in debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited (RCS), and the result were summarized effectively through tables, figures and other forms (Myrick, 2020).

Procedures used in debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited

The objective focused on understanding the procedures that Revival Church used in debt collection and how successful they are in the whole process of debt collection. Through that the researcher recognize the way customers were contacted like advertising the organization on media such as using of Praise Power Radio, Jibu la Maisha Newspaper and visiting the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) churches to make promotion. The Procedure that Organization used in debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited are as follow; Reminding customers by calling them through phones, sending messages and telling them the date that they are supposed to repay for each month, Visit them home and work place to remind for payment. The Organization used to distribute their Accounts number, M-PESA, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money and other means in order to facilitate easy payment especially for those that have a limited schedule, By using church leaders to remind them for payment. They use this technique because they believe that the church leaders were closed to their members so it is easy to convince them repay back their loans especially through preaching to them by using different verses in the bible, By using factoring/ Agency known as Gadau Auction Mart & Company Limited. This company is working under the government to assist those organizations that have a huge number of debts, in collecting all bad debts through applying their techniques to deal with defaulters. The organization is used this third part to understand receivable volume and to determine which receivables will qualify for funding. For example, consider the table below

Table 4.1 Estimating Bad Debts

1 – 30 days Due in 30 days
31 – 60 days Due within a month
61 – 90 days Two months overdue
91+ days More than two months overdue

The accounts receivable aging report is beneficial for estimating the total amount to be written off. Invoices that are past due for longer periods of time have a higher default rate as a result of the higher likelihood of default. For example, those customers that do not pay within a specified time of 90 days can signify a weak collection process and impact the Organization cash flow.  Receivable aging reports insists the Organization to monitor undue amount and remind those customers that became a bad debt through phones, email and other means of communication in social media like what sap, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. According to Saving and Credit Society Act No 73(1) and 74(97) set the Aging Analysis for all debts that Organization offered. This act as a hedging against drastic economic condition in order to protect the trend of market operation. Through that they analyze the aging as follow;

Table 4.2 Aging Analysis

Day 91-180 30%
Day 181-365 50%
Day 365 and above 100%

Through aging analysis Organization Accounts the length of time an invoice has been outstanding. It is used as a gauge to determine the financial health and reliability of a company’s customers. If the aging analysis shows an organization `s debt being collected much more slowly than normal, this is red indicator for business to slow down or that the company is taking greater credit risk in its sales practices. This management tool, can indicate that certain customers are becoming credit risks, and may reveal whether the company should keep doing business with customers that are chronically late payers or not.

The importance of Accounts Receivable Aging

First is to be aware of overdue or non-performing loans so that the Organization can continue to pursue old debts. These may be sold to collections, pursued in court, or simply written off.  Second, the Organization can calculate the number of accounts for which it does not expect to receive payment and uses those estimates to include expected losses in its financial statement. The researcher considers the way Revival Church Sacco Limited performs in the whole process of loan disbursements and repayment since it was started 2002-2021. The Organization achieves to disburse 29,415 loans that have a total value of Tshs 33,997,084,828 as it shown below;

Table 4. 3 Loan Disbursement from 2002-2021

Year Month Frequency Value/Amount
2002-2012 January-December 16,640 14,979,909,958
2013 January-December 1,632 2,063,344,000
2014 January-December 1,519 2,696,068,874
2015 January-December 1,752 2,624,354,654
2016 January-December 1,654 2,991,405,582
2017 January-December 1,374 1,867,378,675
2018 January-June 954 1,168,130,983
2018/2019 July-June 1,676 2,208,924,174
2019/2020 July-June 1,420 1,881,951,784
2020/2021 July-June 794 1,515,616,144
Totals 29,415 33,997,084,828

From 2018 the report shows the loans disbursed for six months and thereafter for 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 because of changes of financial year of reporting. From 01th July 2020 up to 30th June 2021 the Organization disbursed 794 loans with a total value of Tshs 1,515,616,144. It indicated that 2015 the organization has achieved to disburse more loans and year 2016 disburse the loan with high value. The trend declined from year to year because of quitting of some members, competition and decrease of morale for customers to deposit shares, savings and deposits.

Loans Disbursements for each Zone

From July 2020 -June 2021 Revival Church Sacco Limited disburse loans with a total value of Tshs 1,515,616,144 for 20 branches only as shown in the figure below;

Table 4. 4 Loans Disbursements for year 2020-2021

Zone A 504,717,000
Zone B 582,131,504
Zone C 149, 345,300
Zone D 279, 422, 340
General Totals 1,515,616,144

Source: Revival Church Sacco Limited Loan Department (2021).

Findings shows that Zone B is much worth compared to all zones followed by zone A. This demonstrates that capacity of giving loans to customers is higher compared to zone C. In zone B their branches are stronger enough with better performance compared to others. Zone C performing poorly because some branches do not operate well and others have already declined due to lack of fund to facilitate their operations.

Loan Repayment

The repaid loans for 2020/2021 can be shown by using the table 4.5.

Table 4.5 Loan Repayment for year 2020-2021 for each Zone

Zone A 514,346,754
Zone B 627,387,549
Zone C 178,523,912
Zone D 261,411,082
General Totals 1,581,669,297

The ability of collecting undue amount from customers adds more value to Organization performance. Through findings Zone B perform very well in collecting undue amount from customers as what makes them to survive compared to zone C. The reputation of Revival Church Sacco Limited is through better operations and debts collection that contribute to add more money in circulation. By having enough money, the Organization will disburse more loans to people in expectation of more return from interest payment throughout the loan period.

Revival Church Sacco Limited achieved to collect 1,581,669,297 TSH for year 2020/2021 through GADAU that uses various techniques of persuading customers to pay. Findings revealed that Revival Church Sacco Limited has capacity to perform well through the interest that Organization obtained by linking disbursed loan and repayment for year 2020-2021. They disburse TSH 1,515,616,144 and collect TSH 1,581,669,297. The difference is Interest of TSH 66,053,153.

Through Gadau Auction Mart & Company Limited, Organization has improved and customers were active in repay and deposit their savings that contribute much for increasing money in circulation.  Even though Gadau Auction Mart & Company limited has an authority of selling collateral if people refuse to pay. Despite of their efforts there still a total amount of TSH 934,385,318 recognized as a bad debts since Organization has started in 2002. The Organization failed to collect these debts because of the following reasons; when members die, when members shift to foreign country or abroad and when members change address or phone numbers that makes a problem in communication

The Organization analyses those receivables of Tshs 934,385,318 according to each branch as follows;

Table 4. 6 Revival Church Sacco Limited Account Receivables for each Zone

Zone A 413,899,352
Zone B 208,103,082
Zone C 244,900,658
Zone D 67,482,226
General Totals 934,385,318

The findings from accounts receivable may be improved in various ways. First, accounts receivable are derivations of the extension of credit. If an organization facing difficulties in collecting debts, as shown by aging analysis report, all disturbing customers may be obliged to do business on a cash basis only. Therefore, the Aging analysis report is helpful in laying out credit and selling practices. Second, Aging analysis reports are also required for writing off bad debts. Being aware of non-performing loans (NPL) allows an Organization to keep eyes on all uncollected account, so that to help in identifying potential credit risks and cash flow issues. Revival Church Sacco Limited use the information on Aging analysis report to prepare letters that insists on payment of undue amount and send it to debtors with overdue balances. Aging analysis reports may be sent through email to all customers to require them to pay on due time without adding more time to stay with debts. Or a collection letter that gives information to all outstanding balances. Therefore, the aging report may be utilized by internal as well as external individuals. Revival Church Sacco Limited deals with unemployed and employed customers hence they need to be encouraged so as to save through deposits, shares and saving. Especially for a new member is obliged to pay 44,000 as shown in table 4.7

Table 4. 7 New Member Registrations

S/N DETAILS AMOUNT(Tshs)
1 Entrance fee 20,000
2 Share 5000
3 Saving 10,000
4 ledger 2000
5 Passbook 2000
6 By laws 5000
Totals 44,000

After joining, the new member continues to save until three months and after that she/he is supposed to apply for a loan. The loan will be disbursed according to members saving that is not exceeding two times of their saving for example if saving is 500,000 the loan will be 1,000,000. The organization has to consider various issues for a new member and especially at a time of giving loans as follow; Complete and accuracy information about a customer, means of communication by getting a correct line of communication through phones, email and other channel line such as WhatsApp, getting correct number of their church elders and Pastors/ Bishop, Identity card which is well known like license card, National Identity card and voting card, Passport size, Referees, Collateral, Land valuation for those customers that take more than 10,000,000 Tshs and active member that contributes well in savings and deposits.

According to Backer (2021), in order to set up a workout unit, Organization should consider Collection process which is a key responsibility for the collection process and are the plan which demonstrates the loans and all process of managing the defaulters. A well organizational structure consists of non-performing loans management, asset liquidation, and support functions. And Governance which is the plan for non-performing loans may either be centralized or decentralized.  For Revival Church Sacco Limited that operate widely through many branches and serving wide geographical areas and dealing with increased legal complexity of cases due to local regulations, were recommended for the decentralized approach in order to suit it operation.

According to Baka (2013), dispute cause management staffs to resign and Organization started to shake where by other members decided to live and refuse to deposits and save their money to Revival Church Sacco Limited, through this problem Organization is unable to pay workers promptly. And the consequently of all past dues amount triggering many co-operatives thereby adversely impacting on income and vibrancy. Through findings it revealed that Revival Church Sacco Limited accumulate a lot of account receivables that adversely affect its operations and going concern of the organization. The procedure that used in debt collection is inefficiency in the sense that when messages sent to customer it probably reaches to a targeted customer or not due to communication break down or network problem. Also, through use of church elders it creates bias if there was close relationship it reduces the power of convincing about paying debts, so through these circumstances the Revival Church Sacco Limited need an update of their procedures so as to complies with technological change and suit customers demand on time.

Anania & Gikuri (2015) suggest that financial difficulties, loan recovering problem, governance issues, lack of common interests and high interest rates on loans act as an obstacle to fulfill the members interests. Through findings Revival Church Sacco Limited was real affected due to Non-performing Loans (NPL) that contribute much to financial constraints and poor recovering. In order to rescue the situation Organization has to set a well sound able financial system and improve in decision making to all managements and other stakeholders to ensure integrity on accounting practices and keeping records properly.

Competence of Management of Revival Church Sacco Limited in Debt Collection Ability.

Revival Church Sacco Limited is under Cooperative Societies Act, and regulated with different Act like the Microfinance Act (CAP.407) that require each saving and credit cooperative society to abide all rules and regulations applied to the ACT. Also, the Act introduces COASCO which is the Cooperative Audit and Supervision Corporation to ensure all rules and regulations are adhered by all Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS).

Through effective regulation enable Revival Church Sacco Limited to have a strong management system that enable it people to have a conducive environment that meets all social welfare of employees. Likewise, the Organization (RCS) conduct different programs to ensure employees are competent through i) Conducting seminar and training that enable people to be aware on debt collection practices. ii) Through participation on general exhibition of Savings and Credit Cooperative Union League of Tanganyika (SCCULT) that is conducted every year in different zones. By attending that the Organization will be effective and strong on all issues of management to foster and promote growth and development. iii) Indoor meeting that meets all staffs on how they can achieve their objectives in all process of debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited. This can be done for all branches in their respective places. iv) Establishes zones to facilitate all branches to participate because Revival Church Sacco Limited has 27 branches in Tanzania Mainland so through this zone it easy to organize and conduct workshop. For example, workshop and seminars are conducted in Arusha, Iringa, Bukoba and Dar es Salaam so branches are attending easy in respectively to their branches.

Because of adequate knowledge and skills, the organization ensure people`s money is safe by i) Maintaining integrity on record keeping. This is done on daily transaction for each branch before living a counter and the leaders for each branch review all transactions to ensure accuracy of all details presented and make evaluations.

ii) Building a strong safe in each branch for keeping all fund and important documents like customers collateral, books of daily record keeping and cheque. iii) Through emphasizing a strong internal control for each branch and introducing a restriction especially password that limit each people to access the safe and other document in computer. For example, Revival Church Sacco Limited training each employee in branch to make sure that they are warned and not supposed to stay with funds that are more than their capacity.

This is because the organization has many branches and each branch perform quite differ from other, and the level of income differ according to performance that makes other branch to stay with 500,000 only in safe and the big one like Arusha, Kinondoni, Bukoba and Kimara to stay with 2,000,000 only and remaining funds should be deposited at bank such as Credit and Rural Development Bank (CRDB), National Microfinance Bank (NMB), and other bank regarding the access of respective branch.

Temeche (2014) revealed problem like lack competence, low levels of management committees, corrupt leaders, unskilled personnel and irresponsible in the issues of giving credits to members, adversely affect the outreach and sustainability of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS). Through findings Revival Church Sacco Limited did not employ people that meet requirement of the ACT which insist on qualified personnel and competent enough to perform work effectively. Knowledge, Skills and Attitude (KSA) are the key drive to success Organization. The author recommends on providing better service to members improve in Intellectual capabilities and ensure access of information to all stakeholders improved the networking of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS). But finding reveled that training and seminar conducted suit much Head of Department (HOD) because they only attend to training, seminar and workshop instead of all employees within the Organization. This reduces morale and efficiency because subordinate employees are those that work much compared to leaders of department that mainly assist on monitoring work performance.

Baka (2013) insist on leadership management that requires them to operate effectively so as to improve organization performance. Revival Church Sacco Limited leaders are unqualified as not meet the qualifications of being a member according to Microfinance ACT that require them to have a knowledge of Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Economics but in reality, they did not have such qualification but still a Board Members. The process of selecting and voting for aspiring leaders of Cooperative Societies has been improved by the incorporation of a Code of Conduct for Cooperative Management in the Cooperative Societies Act No.20 of 2003. Johnson (2022), argued that beyond the functional application knowledge of new technologies, managers and Organizational leaders need to create a culture of innovation, in which employees meet change with an open and creative mindset focused on the opportunity change provides.

Policies and Guidelines used in debt collection and risk associated with credit applications at Revival Church Sacco Limited.

Revival Church Sacco Limited falls under certain regulations that contain different policies and guidelines on loan disbursements and receivable collections. Instead of loan policy Organization has creates its own policy on how to collect debts from customer by insist the Organization to notify customers about sums owed and sending information through text messages, Emails and WhatsApp regarding the amount payable and a description of the charge.

This ensures a fair and realistic approach when making arrangement for repayment. The Organization creates a summons for all debtors that reject to pay and send it to   the court. The summons contains all details of customer as well as loan amount. Revival Church Sacco Limited applied different procedures in place to provide an opportunity for early intervention to reduce the likelihood of the debt increasing such that; there is a clear recovery process which is understood and implemented fairly and consistently by the Organization. Emphasized on Step-by-step process for all account that becomes past due. The process continues until payment is collected. The loan Officer visit customers to their working place and even at their home.

Negotiation Terms; this is applicable to Customers who are aware of their inability to make timely payments may want to renegotiate terms or arrange a payment plan. However, extending terms disrupts the Organization cash flow. Perhaps the customer is offered an extended payment plan, but with the extension they agree to forfeit discounts. If payment is still late after renegotiating terms, the customer forfeits the right to renegotiate for an extended period and turned over to a third-party collections’ agency, (Gadau Auction Mart & Company Limited) or written off as bad debt.

This policy requires organization to plan the means they can communicate with their customers by setting up clearly defined time frames, exposes their accounts, escalating issues and set strategies that simplify collection practices and shape the behavior of all people when interacting with   customers and internal departments.

Revival Church Sacco Limited ensures that appropriate advice and support are granted so as to facilitate debtor collector to perform effectively. The organization pays commissions to Gadau Auction Mart & Company Limited at 10% of all total collection. This motivates them to work hard and reaching the targeted goal. Collection policies are tailored to Revival Church Sacco Limited for ultimate goal of decrease the volume and number of receivables by motivating debt collector to increase rate of collection and maintaining a good relationship with customers.

The Organization set the strategy to ensure undue amount are collected and those customers that refuse to pay are taken into consideration by sending to them demand notes and summons for requiring to pay their dues and if reject they will be taken to court.  Apart from that the researcher observing the percentage of loans that Organization disburses for each year in regarding to specific branch as follow;

Table 4. 8 Loan Disbursements Percentages for each Zone

Zone A 504,717,000 33.3%
Zone B 582,131,504 38.4%
Zone C 149,345,300 9.9%
Zone D 279,422,340 18.4%
General Totals 1,515,616,144 100%

The researcher recognizes that the ability of Organization to disburse loans is not much wealth for other zones due to low operation. Findings revealed that zone C and D were characterized with insufficient funds to support their growth. According to Chen (2021), argue that the results obtained from performance evaluations gives morale and accountability to agent in decisions criterion. The policies and guidelines that were used by Revival Church Sacco Limited such as reminding customers about sum owed and writing demand notes to pressurize debtors to pay their dues have low impact in organization performance therefore, they need amendments or application of other policies that fastening the whole process of debt collection. Johnson (2022), emphasized on new technologies or communication systems. If a business wishes to remain current with new industry practices, managers need to ensure that employees are continually trained in any new technologies that they will be required to use. Through that Revival Church Sacco Limited can understand the correct collateral that customer used in loan application by testing it to a system so as to realize if it can be applied to other loans in other Institutions or not. This can be done because the findings revealed the collateral to be used more than ones to different Institutions.

Other collaterals were movable like license, motorcycles, cars, which were contrary to Revival Church Sacco Limited Loan policies that require only immovable collateral like house, plots, and farms. Findings revealed risk that arose as a result of credit application like changes of customer’s details such as names and contacts. They did not use the name that appears to the National Identity card or other identities like Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card, voting card, license and passport. This led to risk of escaping a loan as the customer failed to pay. This happened to some branches that people reject to pay by declaring that they were not obliged to that debt. Through that organization enter into a trouble of losing their money and increasing the volume of Non-Performing Loans (NPL).

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Summary of the Research Findings

The study investigated the challenges facing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) in debt collection at Revival Church Sacco Limited that has 27 branches operating in Tanzania Mainland. The organization is centralized and serves people of Tanzania Assemblies of God only. The conceptual basis of the study was procedures used in debt collection, competence of debt collector in debt collection practices and organization policies, guidelines and risk associated in debt collection practices. The study employed descriptive and inferential statistics in data analysis and presentation. The discussion based on assessing each specific objectives of the study from findings and determines the expected results from respondent.

Conclusions

Savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOS) play a critical role in the socioeconomic development in most African countries. Findings revealed that many cooperative societies generate income or profit to help their members in improving their living standard. It has been also acknowledged that Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) make a crucial contribution to sustainable growth by offering savings and loan services. They continue to provide financial services, savings, and credits, to support the life of the people in the rural areas.

The motives behind of establishing Revival Church Sacco Limited is to provide financial service and encourage people to save so as to sustain their living condition. Emphasize should be given to allow organization to perform well and rendering good services to customer.  Revival Church Sacco Limited should operate in conducive environment which obviously support the overall performance of an organization in debt collection practices. They should observe the good and unique procedures in order to make operation smoothly.

Limited financial transparency is a common challenge faced by Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS). As cooperatives are majorly dependent on manual records and paperwork, the management of cooperatives fails to understand savings and loans among the members. Even though unqualified personnel in daily operation that mostly characterized by lack of experience, skills, knowledge and other professional traits lead to adversely effects on organization profit and other source of income for cooperative and thus results to failure of organization performance. Revival church Sacco Limited which operates in almost all regions in Tanzania Mainland has to monitor loans through technology which help organization to track loan and repayment transactions digitally and solve the issue of lack of transparency.

Based on the loan data available online, organization must be able to identify market needs and improve their loan policies and collection practices. Through that they can assist in making informed decisions which related to the financial such as, how much loan they can provide, what amount should be served as liquid funds and how to manage savings and loans better. Also, organization should consider time value of money in order to compete with social and economic condition of the market. Revival Church Sacco Limited should insist on strong internal control system to ensure reliability of financial information and combating the risk of fraud, error and loss of asset. Managing account receivables are critical for improving cash flow and also trade credit insurance can facilitate better security for risks that are beyond the organization control. Revival Church Sacco Limited has to ensure all collateral is registered using General Security Agreement (GSA) which cover all the assets of a borrower and restrict assets like immovable to be used as security. And unfortunately, the organization should impose a strictly policies and guidelines to ensure all practices are carried in accordance with the rules and regulation.

Recommendations

The research has revealed many challenges associated with debt collection practices at Revival Church Sacco Limited. Basically, these challenges occurred due to poor policy and ineffective procedure of debt collection as well as lack of qualified skills and experience for employees on dealing with account receivable transactions. Through these challenges the organization should impose techniques that are systematic to review receivable transactions by checking all procedures relating to debt collection so as to improve control and minimize risk associated with account receivables. Also, Revival Church Sacco Limited should revise its receivable management plan to ensure it complies with the organization policy. The plan should include following up on outstanding receivables, charging interest to past due accounts, referring past due accounts for collection and writing off uncollectable accounts and emphasize in strong Internal control system that the Organization has to implement and maintain a compliance program that can be used as a commitment to a strong system of internal control. For example, they can adopt control framework like SOC1, SOC2, ISO 27001 and others in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Revival Church Sacco Limited should ensure quality services to Organization by providing immediate loan to customer by assessing the ability to pay and improving effective communication to all members. Likewise, the Organization should consider the accuracy and credibility of receivable transactions with regards to the affairs of the Organization as whole and unfortunately conducting of effective seminar and training to employees to keep them updated. Through education people increase knowledge and add more effort to debt collection practices that gives credit to organization reputation. According to Pearl ratio Revival Church Sacco Limited is obliged to borrow Tshs 190,000,000 so as to facilitate easy operation and better performance. This is due to rules and regulation of Cooperative Society Act of (2013) that requires Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) not to borrow less than 5% of their total Asset.

Revival Church Sacco limited should invest in diversified of assets (portfolio-choice), which involves spreading out funds over a portfolio of assets with different types of risk. This is because risk is uncertainty on the return’s organization will receive on any particular asset. (loan) By issuing more assets (loans) Revival Church Sacco Limited have to use diversification to help with risk sharing. Organization must ensure an efficient allocation of capital which contributes to higher production and efficiency for the overall economy. The efficient fund transfer contributes to the healthy economy through the people who have a capital and those who lacked capital. The organization has to ensure those who have a capital distribute it to those people that need capital. (Lender and borrower). They distribute in order to increase their wealth, standard of living, employment opportunities and Productivity. The process could function well if there were efficient transfers from lenders to borrowers hence to promote growth of National Income. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that Revival Church Sacco Limited function efficiently not only quickly, but also at a low cost. Also, the organization has to introduce attractive Interest rates because Interest rates affect the economic decisions of businesses and households, such as whether to use their funds to invest in new equipment for factories or to keep their money in a Sacco. Media always reported about the Interest rates movements because they directly impact our everyday lives and have important consequences for the health of the economy. Even though invest in Money Market Institution which have a maturity or redemption date that is one year or less at the time of issuance. It is a market where near money assets are traded and they are characterized by high liquidity, high marketability, large denomination and low risk. Revival Church must invest indirectly with the help of Cooperate and Rural Development Bank (CRDB) bank which is a core financial Institution they used for their operations.

Suggestions for Further Research

The study sort to investigate challenges facing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) in Debt Collection in Tanzania. The study was carried at Revival Church Sacco Limited that comprise of 27 branches around Tanzania Mainland. The Organization provides financial service to members of Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) only. A similar study may be executed to asses benefits that Revival Church Sacco Limited can achieve in debt collection practices. Another study may be carried to determine how organization can perform in giving loans to their members.

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