Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Titus Muya: The business lessons I learned after founding Family Bank

Titus Kiondo Muya is a Kenyan entrepreneur with tales of resilience and success, an inspiration not just to the existing entrepreneurs but to the upcoming ones too. He founded Family bank in 1984, a journey that was full of a myriad of challenges.

Titus Muya’s entrepreneurial journey unlocked way back in 1961, inspired by an article he read in an international magazine. The verse in the magazine which inspired him the most and even changed his life read:

“Most of the big institutions we all see in the world today were all started by individuals. They all start small and in their own countries of origin and thereafter open branches across the world and become international organizations,” he says.

“Even some of the biggest banks you see in the world today were also started by individuals. They all start small and in their own countries of origin, and thereafter open branches across the world and become international organizations.’’

Since then, he embarked on a journey that has seen him forge a career in banking that will remain an inspiration for the future generation. He registered the bank in 1977 under the name Family Finance and Credit Limited.

“I avoided using the word ‘bank’ because the regulation did not allow anybody to use the word ‘bank’ until you are registered as a bank,’’ said Muya.

Despite registering the company, it remained imaginary for three years due to a lack of capital. He then applied for a banking license in 1980. His move bore no fruit, as his application was turned down by the National Treasury because of not meet the required criteria. The National Treasury advised him to apply for a building license instead.

Titus Muya: Man who defied odds to start Family Bank

Following advice from one of his friends, he applied for the building license, which was issued within two weeks. He was very excited after obtaining the license and registering his company as a building society by the name Family Finance Building Society.

This was his great moment of pride, and his dream of owning a bank was now becoming a reality. Titus Muya became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the first employee of the Family Finance Building Society, where he worked hard to support his family, who were all depending on him after the death of his parents.

Within a year, Family Finance Building Society had opened three more branches in Kiambu, Githunguri, and Nairobi, and a year later in Gatundu. One of its greatest innovations was a school fees loan product which grew the company’s customers to greater heights. The product targeted small-scale tea, coffee, and dairy farmers.

Within two years, its branches in Nairobi and Kiambu counties were already making profits, triggering expansion to other counties. By 2005, the Family Finance Building Society had over 30 branches countrywide. It was allowed to convert to a commercial bank in 2007 by the Central Bank of Kenya. It has since then grown to be among the top financial institutions in the country.

It is currently the 14th largest bank out of the 42 banks in the country, with 93 branches countrywide and three other branches under construction. It is also the fourth largest bank in branch networks.

Bank cheques to clear in a day, electronic fund transfers within hours

In his journey, Titus Muya learned numerous lessons that he believes would help young entrepreneurs to navigate.

  1. Meeting customer needs and keeping them happy is key to the success of a business.

  2. Liquidity is key in running a bank

  3. Correct mistakes as they happen, and learn from your mistakes.

  4. Focus on your goals, no matter what challenges.

  5. Take care and love your customers and your employees.

  6. Communication is key to the success of a business

  7. Challenges will always be there. Learn to solve them without panicking.

  8. Identify and take advantage of an opportunity

  9. Give your customers world-class care, and they will never desert you.

  10. Know your customers.

  11. Never ever give up.

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