By Prudence Minayo
Family Bank is a reputable financial institution with a rich history. The bank was born out of the ambitious dreams of a man who had no banking experience. When Titus Muya walked into the Treasury offices requesting a license to open a bank, people thought the idea was ludicrous. His banking experience was simply non-existent and he had no capital. All he had was determination and no amount of rejection could dissuade him.
Here is the story of Titus Muya as told by WoK.
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Background and early career
As a teenager, he loved reading and this is where he drew his inspiration and motivation to start a company. After his O-levels, Titus worked as a clerical officer in different ministries but his heart was not wholly to remain in that position.
Family Finance Building Society
In the early 80s, he became determined to either open a bank or start a company. All he had was a vision, ambition and commitment. Since his visits to the treasury were fruitless, a friend asked him to instead look for approval to start a building society. This is how Family Finance Building Society was founded as a single outlet in Standard Building along Kenyatta avenue in 1984. Mr. Muya had managed to secure an initial capital loan of Sh500,000. He was able to secure the services of a manager who had banking experience and also doubled up as a clerk. He was also the first account holder.
The entrepreneur would pass through the society every morning and evening before and after work. Since he lacked a banking background, he would ardently observe the workings of other financial institutions.
A year into the business, most financial institutions were facing challenges and building societies began to collapse. This changed his perspective and his focus shifted from corporates to the unbanked population. He relocated to Kiambu and began offering services to locals who had no banking experience. They would offer loans to pay school fees. In return, their customers’ wages from coffee would be paid through the financial institution. This move was a masterstroke as clients steadily increased and so did the revenue. He opened two other branches in Gatundu and Githunguri areas.
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The business taught him a lot including patience. While the financial institution was making money, he did not take any for himself for about twenty years, choosing to inject money back into the business. In 2002, he began getting an annual bonus which he used as his income.
For twenty three years, he served as the chairman and CEO of Family Finance Building Society. To pave the way for more growth, he sold his stake in 2006 and in 2007, the society became a commercial bank after it was issued a license by the Central Bank of Kenya. Titus Muya would later resign as CEO.
“There comes a time when you want some change, call it a day and go do something different or nothing at all,” Mr Muya said following his resignation.
Apart from banking, Titus has been at the helm of various businesses. Before giving the reins to his daughter-Anne, he held a senior position in Daykio Plantations Limited, a company he founded in 1984. It grew from a farming venture to a big player in Kenya’s real estate sector with properties in Kiambu, Kitengela, Off Kangundo road and Kamulu. The company has subdivided land into plots for sale and has also sold numerous homes around Nairobi.
The former civil servant also started Kenya Orient Insurance which was incorporated in 1982 by Al-Fateem Group of Dubai. It changed ownership in 1983 when it was acquired by Kenyans. He stepped down from his role at Kenya Orient Insurance where his son, Julius, chaired the board.
Titus is also the co-founder of Alpha Africa Asset Managers Ltd where he has served as chairman.