NBS to spread operations

HARARE - The National Building Society (NBS) is set to increase its operations across the country despite the economy’s sustained downward trajectory.

NBS managing director, Ken Chitando, said the $2 million expansion drive was aimed at tapping into the low end mortgage market and help close the country’s over 1,5 million housing backlog.

“We are looking at expanding our footprint nationwide through additional branches in Chinhoyi, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare,” he told the businessdaily in an interview.

This comes as the building society, which opened its doors in May this year with an initial capital of $25 million, presently has two offices in Harare and Bulawayo.

Chitando noted that NBS was also pursuing Agency Banking in all the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) offices throughout the country.

“We believe this will go a long way in ensuring that our clients can access our services throughout the country,” he said.

Chitando added that the new building society has the capacity and adequate resources to fight for honours in the housing sector.

“We expect to have an excess of 20 000 clients by end of year.  We are a niche business for the low-end market, mostly targeting junior and middle level employees. The fact that Zimbabwe has a booming informal market is not lost to us as we also cater for this market,” he said.

Presently, the building society takes deposits and offers transactional, savings and subscription banking along with bancassurance services.

NBS offers interest rates of 9,5 percent for mortgage lending, with a 25-year loan repayment tenure and this is presently the market’s longest offering with the obtaining mortgage lending in the market around 12 percent on a maximum tenure of 20 years.

“Our focus is the low end of the market and we are very close to launching a mobile application to increase banking convenience for our clients . . .  all I can say is it is coming in the near future . . .  maybe it will be our Christmas present to our valued clients,” Chitando said.

He also pointed out that the bank was set to introduce Internet banking in the next three to six months for the local as well as Diaspora clients.

“Most people in the Diaspora want to build homes for when they return back home and our website guides them through the account opening process. They also undergo the vetting process as required by the regulatory authority before they open accounts with us.

Chitando said the bank’s ideal clients were first time home owners and NBS was recently involved in financing of a housing development in Adelaide Park in Harare.

The bank is currently making plans to start construction at Glaudina, a land owned by Nssa, as its first independent development project along with another project in Chinhoyi.

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