Corporate Governance and Financial Performance of Saving and Credit Co-Operatives in Meru County, Kenya
Wako, Yusuf Dika
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Saving and credit Co-operatives are more preferred in developing economies since they contribute to the promotion of total human development, improve the living standards of its members, promote personal-development and self-reliance, assist in creating initiatives, mobilisation of member savings and offering credit to members at affordable rates. However, in spite of the inherent advantages, their existence is inhibited by a number of challenges such as inadequate member commitment and participation, poor governance, misappropriation of movement resources, limited products and services, in adequate human capital, low skills and expertise on the side of the management team, low innovations and poor marketing strategies that cast doubts on their survival. The purpose of conducting the study was to establish the influence of corporate governance on financial performance of saving and credit co-operatives in the County of Meru. Specifically, the study sought to determine the influence of board independence, board accountability, board commitment and board structure on financial performance of saving and credit co-operatives in Meru County. In this study the agency theory, stakeholder theory and the shareholder theory were used to anchor the study variables. The research design adopted in the study was descriptive research design. The population for the study was the management staff of all the 132 SACCOs in the County.98 sample size was chosen from the study population by utilising the stratified random sampling technique; one respondent in each SACCO was picked. Both primary and secondary data was utilised in the study. Primary data was collected through a semi structured questionnaire while a secondary data collection sheet was utilised to collect secondary data. Quantitative data collected from the structured form questions were analysed via descriptive statistics including frequencies, mean scores and standard deviations. The results were presented through tables and charts. Qualitative data derived from the open-ended questions were analysed through conceptual analysis and presented in prose form. The study also factored in ethical issues relating to the study. The study concluded that corporate governance was a significant factor in determining performance of the performance of the SACCOs in Meru County. The study concluded that the boards were significantly independent, accountable, committed and well structured. The study further concluded that board accountability, integrity, professionalism, transparency and efficiency promoted financial performance of SACCOs. The study concluded that the board members among the SACCOs in Meru County have not embraced gender balance in their board composition and leadership. The study recommends that the SACCOs need to ensure that the boards are accountable, committed, independent professional and qualified for peak performance. The study recommends that leaner and clearly structured board of management among the SACCOs due to their efficiency and effectiveness in decision making, management, communication, coordination, monitoring and in operation cost. The study recommends further that the board members among the SACCOs in Meru County should have the necessary knowledge, skills, experience and ideas to improve the performance of the firms.