Cabs splashes $3m on branches upgrade

Zimbabwe’s largest mortgage lender, Cabs, has invested over $3 million towards rebranding and refurbishment of its branches across the country, an executive has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Cabs, a subsidiary of Old Mutual Zimbabwe, has the widest branch network countrywide, but wants to further consolidate its market position through incorporating other banking channels.

“Over $3 million has been invested in our rebranding exercise. This exercise will go a long way in improving the branch ambience to enhance customer experience,” the building society’s managing director, Simon Hammond told NewsDay in emailed responses.

Hammond said, to date, branches such as Chisipite, Avondale, Park Street, Central Avenue, Kevin Corner, Southerton, Gweru, Zvishavane, Bulawayo Jason Moyo and Platinum Ascot, have been refurbished.

“We expect to have refurbished Masvingo and Chiredzi by early 2017 and are still finalising the capex [capital expenditure],” he said.

Hammond said they currently have a network of 56 branches, 71 automated machines and 6 149 point-of-sale machines countrywide to increase the volume of electronic payments.

Zimbabwe is facing a worsening cash crunch, as a widening deficit and a stronger US dollar weigh on the economy.

In a bid to ease cash shortages, the central bank has reduced charges for electronic payments and also imposed limits on daily bank withdrawals.

Hammond said the mortgage lender pursues targeted lending strategies that focus on its diverse segments, which include corporates, small-to-medium enterprises, mortgages, consumer loans among others.

In response to the acute housing shortages in the country, Hammond said Cabs remained passionate about providing affordable housing and building resources to both individuals and corporates.

He also said they offer short-term consumptive loans to qualifying individuals, which the applicant is not required to secure them with immovable property.

“Deductions of loan repayments are done from the applicant’s salary, which comes through Cabs,” he said, adding they also provide appropriately-structured and competitively-priced funding to facilitate capital expenditure and working capital.

In the six months to June, Cabs recorded a net surplus of $20,75 million up from $10,63 million realised in the comparable period last year, driven a decrease in impairments through the income statement. Impairments decreased to $1,66 million from $9,92 million, as there was limited growth in the loan book.

Cabs said net interest income declined by 4% compared to the same period in 2015, while fee and commission income increased by 5,8%. Comparatively, operating expenses increased by 10,7%, thus, increasing the society’s cost to income ratio from 54,3% in 2015, to 60,3% in 2016, Cabs said.

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