CBZ eyes diaspora market

 CBZ eyes diaspora market
Published: 14 June 2019
Biggest banking group by assets and deposits CBZ Holdings Limited, has set eyes on diaspora mortgages, as part of its strategy to enhance foreign currency generation, a senior official has said. Through its subsidiary, CBZ Properties, the group anticipates to tap into the growing appetite for residential properties in the country, especially for the diaspora market.

Group chief executive officer Dr Blessing Mudavanhu, told Business Weekly that the group was looking at increasing the contribution of the business unit to the group's overall revenue and profitability.

The business unit's contribution is still low.  "We are indeed looking at the diaspora market. There is a drive towards creating products that attract foreign currency.

"This is one such product, where you provide mortgages for people in the diaspora as a way of attracting that foreign currency business. So that is something that our guys are looking at. There has already been some participation around that space," he said in an interview.

Several other mortgage lenders have also taken the same route by creating products for the over three million Zimbabweans living outside the country. FBC Holdings Limited also indicated the group would focus on diaspora mortgages as one of its growth strategies this financial year as demand for residential properties continue to increase.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's subsidiary Homelink also launched a similar project as well as Steward Bank while other banking groups such as CABS and ZB have also been significant mortgage lenders in Zimbabwe.

For CBZH, the group has lined up several property development projects across the country as it converts its vast land banks into lucrative projects.

These range from residential and commercial properties. Dr Mudavanhu highlighted shopping malls among the projects in the pipeline.

"We have a land portfolio, through that some of the items we are looking at are business centres, shopping malls and residential properties. We are working with some partners, including our asset management business," he said.

CBCH is also targeting student accommodation, which is expected to ease the shortage of accommodation at the country's universities and other institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe.

This project will not only be confined to students' accommodation but will also look at housing for staff members at universities.

In 2017, CBZ won a Government tender to raise US$2 billion for development of residential and other infrastructure at institutions of learning such as laboratories and sporting facilities.

"The challenge with universities now is student accommodation. So we are looking at some universities and again, there are discussions taking place with investors and our clients. I just came from a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) with one of our clients, a local university. It is important to note that for universities, the problem is not only student accommodation but shortage of staff houses as well," said Dr Mudavanhu.
- eBusiness Weekly
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