The bitter-sweet relationship a first car owner has to endure

Everyone has a teary story about their first car.

He’ll often tell it with a longing in his voice, a soulful lull on his lips and a far-off gaze in his eyes. This is a relationship smelt and blended in metal, full of heart breaks and God’s mercy.

First cars are the true personification of selfless sacrifice.

Someone will frequent a yard sale, and fall in love with a piece of mid 70’s junk. At this stage, budget is always breadline – a fruitful end to months of savings. To say a lifetime of skipping fun with friends for extra jobs to earn some coins doesn’t give it enough credence.

The resuscitating mechanic is usually a cousin working pro bono, or an indefatigable uncle who somehow believes in your dreams. By God’s grace, the car will start running.

You park it outside your bedroom window, and you spend half the night staring at it in the half-light. The first task in the morning is the day-long wash and scrub.

You possess used tires at a bargain from the neighborhood garage for a start. It’s time to roll.

It’s heavenly, picking up a couple of friends for a drive, to the soccer game. The look on their faces are priceless, especially since some are a year or two older. The girls start to take notice of the silent kid.

The interior may be ripped, stained and smelly.

No matter that it uses a liter of transmission oil every 50 miles.

The stereo kicked the bucket a few decades back, and the dials don’t even turn.

The rickety piece of junk constantly has a billowing cloud of black smoke following behind.

The one prayer on your lips on the entire trip is that the rains do not start, for the wipers do not work.

Your best friend hogs the shotgun seat, and keeps his sneakers firmly planted on the hole on the floor – lest water from the puddles on the road splash inside.

Nobody will say a word.

Nobody will even say a word about the non-functional reverse gear. That part of the transmission packed up ages ago. They are just impressed that you own a car, and driving it.

You wouldn’t care, anyways.

That piece of junk meant no more queues at bus stops (at the mercy of pick pockets). No more begging parents for rides. No more places you couldn’t go – Ok, let’s say within a 20-mile (walking) radius from home.

That car represented FREEDOM!

If only people were so easy to impress today!

That was in the mid 90’s. It’s neither here nor there, but everything has greatly turned out for the better. It’s not just in car engineering, with better transmissions and inline or slanting cylinders – but, also in the economics of car ownership.

Presently, it’s as easy as ABC, to own a ride, brand new. It doesn’t matter if the need is business-driven or family-oriented, one can drive home.

Co-op Bank has the special Motor Vehicle Purchase Schemes established with major motor vehicle dealers, Isuzu East Africa Ltd.

This is structured to enable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) acquire vehicles they need with an incredible 95% funding, under the Biashara Iendelee na Isuzu financing deal.

As a plus, business people have the liberty to apply an additional working capital of Ksh. 300,000.00, and a loan repayment holiday of 60 days.

One can visit any Co-op Bank branch across the country to get more info on this deal, or check Biashara Iendelee na Isuzu promotion online

Click here from the comfort of your office or home.

MetroTrans Sacco acquires 45 brand new buses in a financing deal with Co-op Bank

MetroTrans Sacco, one of the leading PSV transport Sacco’s operating in Nairobi, has today received 45 new buses at Isuzu East Africa with financing from Co-op Bank in form of a lease worth Kes 225 Million.

The lease will enable the Sacco to respond to increased demand in their existing routes, and to also serve their customers better by offering cashless payments enabled by technology company SWVL that allows users to make and track bookings through the SWVL app.

The buses were financed through Co-op Bank’s leasing arm – Co-op Bank Fleet Africa.

Under the leasing agreement, MetroTrans will lease the buses for a period of four (4) years after which they will be sold to individual Sacco members including drivers.  This empowers the Sacco members to own matatus which they would otherwise not have been able to acquire.

Co-op Bank is the first bank in Kenya to offer leasing services to the matatu sector.

The MD of Isuzu E.A, Rita Kavashe hands over the keys to Mr. Oscar Rosana, Ceo MetroTrans Sacco while Mr. Edward Mutuaruhiu Head Of Sacco Banking at Coop Bank (extreme right) and Mr. John Mathu, Chairman MetroTrans Sacco (left) looks on.

MetroTrans is one of Kenya’s leading transport Saccos, with investments in PSV transportation, logistics and supplies.

The Sacco has been in operation since 2011 and currently operates 51-seater, 33-seater and 14-seater matatus on various routes within Nairobi including Nairobi – Utawala, Nairobi – Kabiria , Nairobi – Kawangware and Nairobi – Kasarani – Mwiki. They have also expanded their operations to Bomet.

Speaking at the launch held at Isuzu Head Office in Nairobi the Chairman of MetroTrans Sacco, Mr. Oscar Rosana, lauded the partnership between Metrotrans Sacco and Co-op Bank that enabled acquisition of the new fleet of buses, which will significantly boost the income of Sacco members.

“The acquisition of these buses is timely, as it will improve the incomes of our members by addressing the increase in demand we have experienced in recent times. Furthermore, our partnership with SWVL to provide cashless payment solutions is consistent with Government guidelines intended to minimise the use of cash in favour of cashless transactions in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19”.

Speaking at the same function, the Director of Co-operatives Banking at Co-op Bank, Mr. Vincent Marangu said,

“Co-op Bank is the preferred choice for PSV companies and Sacco’s since we understand their business model very well and have the right solutions to cater for their needs. We have a dedicated Transport and Housing Co-operatives department that supports over 900 transport companies and Saccos with working capital, payment and collection solutions to assist them effectively manage their fleets”.

He further adds: “This year alone we have approved financing for over 200 PSV vehicles worth Kes 870 Million, through asset finance and leasing. We are proud to be the first bank in Kenya to offer this service to matatus and look forward to more Sacco’s taking it up.”

What does a business owner need to acquire a brand-new Isuzu truck and additional working capital?

For most business owners, a significant portion of the overheads arise in logistics. Moving new stock from the source to the market or between warehouses and making deliveries. There’s also a lot of costly risks in outsourcing transport.

To seal this loophole, business owners need a formidable financial partner.

Co-op Bank has the special Motor Vehicle Purchase Schemes established with major motor vehicle dealers, Isuzu East Africa Ltd and Simba Corporation Group. This is structured to enable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) acquire vehicles they need at highly negotiated terms.

These are the requirements needed to secure Biashara Iendelee na Isuzu financing:

  • 6 months’ bank statements: (Non Co-op Bank clients) Mpesa statements are an added advantage. 1 year statements for seasonal/contractor business OR schools
  • Copy of ID/passport for all applicants/directors/officials
  • Copy of KRA pin certificates
  • Business registration certificate
  • Duly filled Asset finance application form, include working capital form
  • Limited Companies: Certificate of Incorporation, PIN, Memo & Articles of Association, annual returns
  • Saccos: PIN, Certificate of Registration, Registered borrowing powers, minutes authorizing the borrowing, minutes appointing officials
  • Copies of contracts where applicable
  • Pro forma Invoice
  • For amounts above 10 million: 3 years audited accounts, latest management accounts

In addition, the package comes with:

  • A working capital of Ksh 300,000/=
  • A 60-day repayment holiday on the loan
  • A comprehensive insurance package priced at 4.75% of the vehicle value (that includes political violence & terrorism)
  • Insurance Premium Financing which allows you to pay insurance premiums in easy instalments
  • 1% processing fee

This is a way to overcome logistic challenges. To address them and achieve success via this scheme, visit any one of the 150 Co-op Bank branches across the country. The solution is within reach.

To check the Biashara Iendelee na Isuzu promotion online from the comfort of your office or home, click here!

Did you know that the discarded Banana Blossom is a super food, and an expensive delicacy?

It’s astonishing, how little you know about the basic banana tree. Or, the fruit, even.

For instance, what’s the little strings inside a banana?

The little strings are called phloem bundles.

Do you know the actual name for the banana flower? The cylindrical part that grows forth through the stem, forms part of the stalk that holds the fruit and then peels off in layers as the fruit ages?

It’s called the Banana Blossom.

Banana Blossom chicken salad (File image)

In most cases, this part of the banana tree is discarded as waste, or set aside as animal feed. It escapes a lot of folks -but the banana blossom is a delicacy, and a delicious meal.

These are the simple steps:


Banana Blossom

Vinegar, or, lemon juice (2 lemons)

The steps:

Wash the entire blossom.

Start opening the outer leaves one by one. Under each leaf you will find a group of long pale yellow flowers.

Keep repeating the first 2 steps: open the leaf, collect flowers, and discard leaf. While peeling, the leaves will get softer and paler in color and the flowers will get smaller – as the blossom peels.

Put in a bowl, add cold water, lemon juice or vinegar to avoid discoloring.

Pick a flower, open, by pulling the feathery plastic like petal back, you’ll find the matchstick like stem inside the flower. You have to remove it, otherwise your blossoms will be hard and bitter.

Open the flower by gently rubbing the end of it in between your fingers and gently push the petals back. Do this for all that you can. The flowers closer to the heart will get smaller and smaller and will get harder and harder to clean. When you can’t clean anymore, just separate the flowers.

Discard the match-stick like part, keep the flower. These are ready to cook, as you’d cook any other salads – or, vegetable like the spinach.

While the banana fruit remains a fast-moving commodity, and the crop remains a huge income earner for most communities in Kenya – there’s a huge challenge in transport logistics – between the producer and the consumer in towns.

There’s considerable wastage and business losses incurred in unprecedented delays along the route, either from dishonest transport agents or mechanical breakdowns.

There’s been an effort by a leading regional bank to even out the playground for traders – especially those dealing with perishable fruits and vegetables.

Co-op Bank has renewed a vehicle financing deal financing deal that is set to empower such traders – either as individuals or registered groups.

The Biashara Iendelee campaign deal gives clients up to 95% funding on selected vehicle brands to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

These are versatile lorry and pick-up trucks ideal for business, from Isuzu Kenya and Simba Colt.

For Isuzu, models available are: Pickups – TFS & TFR series. Trucks: N-series Models – NHR, NKR, NQR, NPR; Isuzu F-Series models – FRR, FSR.

For Simba Colt, Co-op Bank clients can pick the versatile Mitsubishi Canter FE 71, 84,85CG, 85CH, Mitsubishi Trucks and assorted Mitsubishi Pickups.

If they wish, the clients can also apply for a Ksh.500,000 working capital facility to ride out the crippling Covid-19 season. Other exciting perks is the 60 day loan-grace-period, a negotiated motor vehicle insurance cover and the longest, flexible re-payment periods in the market – 5 years.

There’s really no need for a trader to incur losses due to delayed transport from the farm to the market – NO MATTER THE DISTANCE!

Businesses and farmers to gain as Co-op Bank seals a landmark 95% vehicle financing deal with Toyota Kenya

Toyota Kenya and Co-operative Bank have entered into a strategic financing partnership that will enable the bank’s customers to purchase commercial and personal vehicles under Toyota Kenya’s portfolio, including Toyota, Suzuki, Hino and Yamaha.

This Scheme is expected to assist business recover from the ravages of Covid-19, as customers require to place a down-payment as low as 5% to purchase the vehicles, as financing of up to 95% will be provided.

In addition, repayment of the loan is for a long period of up to 60-months.

The iconic Toyota Landcruiser Pick Up: One of the vehicles in the financing deal.

Co-op Bank will also extend a ​Kshs. 500,000 working capital loan – without additional security – to the successful applicants of the Toyota Vehicles. What’s more, to give  customers some relief to enable them build cash for repaying the loan, customers will enjoy a grace period of 2 months​ (60 days) before they begin paying back the loan.

The new partnership also allows fleet customers under Coop Fleet Africa, the leasing arm of Co-operative Bank Group, to acquire more units. This is an amplification of the existing deal that only covers the commercial segment with the financing of the Hiace van and Hilux pickups.

Managing Director Toyota Kenya, Arvinder Reel, in lauding the improved deal said the pandemic demonstrated the need to support individuals and sectors that are at the heart of the country’s economy with flexible options to acquire key assets for their operations.

“Our partnership with Co-op Bank goes beyond just the sale of the vehicles. We are saying this is an improved partnership since customers will also receive professional training for their drivers under the Toyota Advanced Driving program and the Yamaha Riding Academy, for those who purchase the Yamaha motorbikes,” he said.

“From our lineup of quality, durable and reliable commercial and passenger vehicles, Toyota Kenya shall continue prioritizing solutions that support Kenyans towards their personal and business re-building in the wake of the pandemic,” he said.

Toyota Kenya has over the years been a great champion of growing the local automotive industry through the production of various models under its stable, hence building the local content supply chain, transferring technology and creating direct and indirect jobs for Kenyans.

DEAL SIGNED-OFF: (L-R) Managing Director Toyota Kenya, Arvinder S. Reel, Ag Director Corporate & Institutional Banking at Co-op Bank Jacqueline Waithaka and Co-op Bank Fleet Africa Leasing Managing Director Robert Mbugua display the deal documents following the sign-off the joint financing deal that will offer up to 95% financing for the purchase of Toyota vehicles.

“Currently, Toyota Kenya locally assembles 11 varied models which includes Hilux & Land cruiser pick-ups, Hino trucks and Yamaha motorcycles,” he noted.

On behalf of Co-op Bank, the Director of Corporate and Institutional Banking, Mrs. Jacquelyne Waithaka said that the scheme is available for those customers who want direct acquisition of the vehicles, or for leasing. The bank has made the terms flexible to accommodate MSME’s, Co-operatives, Corporate, Individuals and Farmers, to support them re-tool their businesses as the economy re-opens.

Even after the lifting of the interest rate capping, the two firms have agreed to keep the borrowing rate at 13% on reducing balance.