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Rural credit schemes have been espoused as key avenues for reducing rural poverty. Their success, however, continues to be hampered by institutional inefficiencies and poor allocation of loans. This study examined the institutional factors influencing credit utilization in Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) in Soroti district of Uganda. Two hundred fifty-seven (257) respondents were randomly selected for study from 13 SACCOs that were purposively selected from the five sub counties which constituted the district. Data were collected in a cross-sectional survey and in-depth interviews. Quantitative data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). Logit regression was used to determine the institutional factors influencing credit use decisions. Results of descriptive analysis showed that major credit terms used by SACCOs included, collateral (74.5%), quarantorship (70%) and savings (51%). Major incentive offered by the SACCO included gifts (67.4%). However, there was inefficient credit management within the SACCOs with only 25.2% of the respondents receiving training on an annually basis and 29.6% of the respondents being monitored on a quarterly basis. SACCO recovered loans from the members through the sale of collateral (63.2%). Results of the regression analysis showed that access to extension services, collateral requirement, monitoring of loan utilization, saving habits, loan contract characteristics and duration of membership in the SACCO influenced credit utilization. Thus, SACCOs can improve access and utilization of rural credit by organizing rural households into groups and providing extension services.
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