I went to the biggest bank in the country to try and apply for a Diaspora Mortgage for my daughter who is working in the USA. The process and costs are prohibitive. Besides there is no attraction for USA and Canada Diaspora to apply for Zimbabwean mortgages . They can get cheaper and more money in the countries where they are working .
My daughter only qualifies for US$85,000 mortgage on a five year tenure basis with repayment of US$2,070 per month. The administration, establishment , insurance, bond registration and mortgage establishment costs are US$10,000 before payment of the 25% deposit .
There is no rational person in the diaspora who can agree to access such a mortgage with interest of 10% per annum. Mortgage rates in North America are around 1.5% and if your credit score is excellent you pay 0-5% deposit .
What confuses me is how the monetary authorities and the banks can design such products that can not attract people in the diaspora .
Worse still most Zimbabweans have 100% equity in their properties . If the monetary authorities and banks copy and paste products in the USA and Canada a lot of home owners would refinance or access home equity line of credit automatically and use the money to generate more wealth.
Our banking sector is not creative or innovative in terms of products that empower citizens and drive economic growth choosing rather to stick to old colonial legacy systems that do not take into account our informal and predominantly cash economy.
If you approach the banks to apply for a facility they put so many hurdles in your way and ask you for a thesis as an application including a Porters Five Forces based market analysis , cashflows, accounts etc even if your project proposal is clear and simple.
My suggestion is we as black Africans have a duty to empower each other and create more black millionaires. This takes an understanding of both white privilege and black consciousness . A lot of our educated black leaders continue to promote the same systems and legacies that used legislation to impoverish black people in Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa.
Without a responsive and supportive banking sector 99.4% of the population which is black remains without being empowered and impoverished .
I pray that the banks increase their volume of business among indigenous blacks and lower their margins for the long term win win approach required for the economy to thrive.
Dumisani Ndlovu is an Educator, Entrepreneur and Management Consultant