HARARE: A building society wholly owned by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is beginning to take shape, with work at a branch in central Harare at an advanced stage.
The state-run pension manager’s mortgage lender, to be called the National Building Society (NBS), was initially scheduled for an August 2015 launch, but was postponed to the end of the first quarter of this year.
Over the past week, contractors could be seen working on the NBS branch at Karigamombe mall in central Harare, unveiling the new mortgage lender’s corporate identity.
NBS is set to become Zimbabwe’s fourth building society, after market leader CABS, FBC Building Society and ZB Building Society.
Interestingly, NSSA is the single largest shareholder in FBC Holdings, with a 35 percent stake.
NSSA also holds a direct 51 percent shareholding in First Mutual Holdings Limited and a further 20 percent through the defunct Capital Banking Corporation, which the fund wholly owned.
The government has announced that it will inject $30 million capital into NSSA’s building society, immediately ensuring it surpasses the $25 million minimum capital threshold which mortgage lenders are required to achieve by 2020.
Cash-rich NSSA breached the $1 billion asset mark in 2013, according to its annual financial report for that year, also ending the year with a $122 million cash pile. During that year, NSSA reported a 21 percent decline in investment income – from property and the money market — to $24 million.
NSSA’s extensive equity investments continue to yield no significant income as the local stock market remains in the doldrums.
NSSA’s building society is expected to benefit from the statutory pension fund’s expansive land bank and properties across the country.
Notable properties on NSSA’s asset register include the recently completed Beitbridge Hotel, the Celestial office park on Borrowdale Road in Harare as well as hectares of residential stands across the country, earmarked for low-cost housing.