National Building Society (NBS) is Zimbabwe’s answer to home ownership.
Launched in May this year, NBS is extending affordable finance, as low as 9% for first-time homeowners, and long-term tenure, up to 25 years.
The building society was created in response to a mandate handed to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to deliver housing under the poverty alleviation and social service delivery cluster of ZimAsset.
NSSA’s board approved the formation of a building society in 2015, paving the way for its launch.
NBS has a deliberate mandate to cater for the low-income bracket, including civil servants, informal, small and micro-enterprise owners.
“NBS realises that the structure of Zimbabwe’s economy has changed from formal to predominately informal, so it aims to serve this previously unbanked market,” managing director, Ken Chitando explained.
Its main focus is on housing enabling Zimbabweans dream of home ownership to become reality.
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“Building or buying a home has become an elusive dream for most Zimbabweans. NBS has a specific mandate to deliver affordable housing and finance for the lower tier of the market,” Chitando said.
The public’s response has been beyond expectations, indicative of the pent-up demand for housing and resonance of the NBS products and services with the market.
Thousands of accounts have been opened at its two branches in Harare and Bulawayo.
NBS expects its mortgage loan book to start growing as qualifying account holders take up loans for housing being availed through internal and collaborative housing projects.
“We have our own, self-driven projects like Glaudina in Harare and another about to come on stream in Chinhoyi,” Chitando said.
“We have also partnered with other stakeholders on projects at Stoneridge and Adelaide, where we will be extending finance for the construction of more than 300 houses combined.”
The Adelaide housing project, a partnership with Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe and Shelter Zimbabwe, was commissioned on October 20 by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Eighty-five Lafarge employees are getting houses built on a zero deposit mortgage from NBS.
Beyond housing finance, NBS also offers traditional banking services including savings and transaction accounts, Treasury and bancassurance services.
It has two branches in Harare and Bulawayo, with plans to open a third in Gweru before the end of 2016. Agency banking services will make it accessible to the remotest parts of the country. “We intend to harness ICTs too,” Chitando said.
“Internet banking and mobile banking apps are the future of the industry and will allow us to enhance convenience to our customers. They will also enable us to reach out to the unbanked more effectively fulfilling our other founding principle of financial inclusion.”