Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
THE National Building Society is now sitting on a $5 million loan book, five months since it started operations and will open four more branches in the new year as demand for housing loans soar, managing director Ken Chitando said. The society’s book is expected to grow based on the demand for housing in the country. Zimbabwe is sitting on a backlog for housing of about 1,2 million.
“Demand is picking. The remarkable response speaks to a need out there,” said Mr Chitando. He said the four new branches set to be opened during the course of 2017 will complete the two existing in Harare and Bulawayo. Chinhoyi, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare are expected to host the new branches. Mr Chitando said the choice for where to set up branches is partly guided by where NBS is already carrying out housing projects.
NBS has housing construction projects under consideration in Harare, Chinhoyi, Gweru, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Bindura and Mutare. The branch network is therefore designed to complement the work already going on. This will be complemented by a number of agencies that are being set up in most of the urban centres.
NBS, a brain child of the Zimbabwean National Social Security Authority and a result of an investment through the National Pensions Scheme fund and the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund with 60 percent and 40 percent stakes respectively, was created with the sole mandate of contributing to the national housing stock and in support of the Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset and Financial Inclusion programmes.
This will be achieved through a number of initiatives which include company based schemes and personal housing loan arrangements. Although company based schemes are preferable as they mitigate against risk, the society is alive to the needs of the people, particularly first time home owners. In that regard, the society has a number of initiatives to be rolled out in the New Year to ensure the society carries out its mandate.
NBS , through its solid capital base and support structure, is positioning itself to be the market leader in the provision and facilitation for affordable housing developments. On growing the land bank, Mr Chitando said focus was currently on developing or completing the existing projects before new acquisitions are considered.