NBS in $1m branch expansion drive

National Building Society (NBS) will this year spend $1 million in a branch expansion drive as it seeks to open three more branches, the company’s managing director, Ken Chitando, has said.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

Chitando told the media after the opening of the building society’s third branch in Chinhoyi on Wednesday that the society would also open branches in Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare and have in excess of 200 agencies countrywide this year.

“We have three additional branches that will be rolled out this year and in excess of six branches and 200 agencies. In addition to that, we will have 100 retail point-of-sale, internet and mobile banking facilities. The capital budget is $1 million,” he said.

NBS’s primary target is to deliver affordable housing through the provision of mortgage finance to first-time home owners, primarily for high and medium-density developments.

Furthermore, Chitando said NBS would raise $150 million to roll out 10 000 houses. The project will be financed through shareholder’s support and bond issuance.

“For this year, we have a target to roll out about 10 000 houses. In terms of estimates we are looking at about $150 million by way of funding that is being raised and deployed towards housing finance. We are hoping that in the second half of this year we will be going on the market seeking to raise funding through bonds for building purposes. We are engaging advisors, but we are going to do it in tranche-by-tranche basis. We are going to go for a big amount in one goal, but in a phased approach. We are not going to take a cautious approach,” he said.

NBS was licensed in April 2016 and launched to the public in May 2016, with the official opening of the Harare branch that was followed by another one in Bulawayo.

The opening of the Chinhoyi branch will be complemented by developing 700 houses in the Mashonaland West town.

Elsewhere, the bank has projects in Bindura, Gweru, Shurugwi, Ruwa and Masvingo. It has advanced loans amounting to over $40 million.

He said the bank would make strides to keep non-performing loans below 5%.

“We have a five-year strategy of 100 000 houses. Our model is demand driven. The reason why we are starting 700 houses in Chinhoyi is because its phase one is premised on demand. If the demand is there in Chinhoyi we go to phase two and three,” Chitando said.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira urged the board to exercise fiduciary responsibility in safeguarding depositor’s money, so as to ensure a good return on investment.

“The bank was funded from NSSA contributors’ funds and this means that all workers and pensioners have played a part in the development and birth of the building society. We all demand a very good return on that investment. We, therefore, call for a management framework that allows adequate oversight, promotes good governance and punishes those who abuse public funds,” she said.

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