Cabs secures $70m credit lines

HARARE – Old Mutual’s mortgage lending unit Central African Building Society (Cabs) has secured $70 million offshore credit lines.

The funds are targeted at boosting the institution’s housing loans in Zimbabwe.

Kevin Terry, Cabs managing director, yesterday said the group will access at least $50 million by end of July 2014.

“…and another $20 million by year end for mortgage securitisation,” he told stakeholders during a launch of Cabs rebranding exercise Tuesday.

Early this year, Cabs secured a $10 million loan facility from a French development agency, Proparco, for housing development and to bail out hard pressed manufacturing firms.

The building society indicated that it will use part of the funds to bankroll its housing project of over 3 000 units in the high density suburb of Budiriro, south west of the Harare CBD.

It is also planning to develop an additional 12 000 housing units around the country.

Meanwhile, the building society’s rebranding is part of a strategic initiative that follows a successful installation of a new core banking system and roll out of diversified banking products.

Kerry noted that the objective to change the current identity “is to revive and rejuvenate their current logo and to give it a more modern feel that will combine Cabs heritage and its current position as a vibrant player in the local market”.

“The society is now more strategically positioned to organise its business around the customer and the new brand positioning will assist in delivering growth for both the customer and the society,” he said.

“In line with the bank’s strategic focus, we undertook a research to see how our customers would like to us presented. The findings were used to develop a logo we believe will position us as a progressive financial institution.”

Under its portfolio, Cabs has banking, savings and investment services.

Kerry said the unveiling of the new brand will be done in phases, beginning with refurbishments of branches and corporate wear.

“The rebranding was always part of the plan and was seen as the next logical step for the society. We are proud to be unveiling such a modern and progressive look, which demonstrates the progressive nature of the organisation,” he said.

The rebranding of the building society, which has operated in Zimbabwe for the past 60 years, comes after Cabs recently introduced long-term mortgage financing of up to 20 years.

Zimbabwe has endured a protracted mortgage stress that set in at the turn of the decade when savings started dropping steeply, aggravating over the years and eventually slumping in 2008 – the country’s all-time low.

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