The Botswana Building Society (BBS), the country?s titanic mortgage lender, is waging a big fight to protect its position as the premier financer of affordable housing as the cash rich commercial banks are now targeting its market.
The bank is enjoying the limelight of turning from the red into the black since the coming in of the incumbent General Manager, Pius Molefhe in 2004.
Under its new rebranding campaign, dubbed ?We know you better,? it aims to put the BBS in the limelight as it tries to transform into ?a proper bank? under its long term strategy.
A number of suitors, which include Barclays Bank and Nedbank of South Africa, have already expressed interest in helping it to become a fully fledged bank. The campaign is expected to run well over two months through newspaper advertisement, bill boards and change of employees mind set. It will also coin an expression ?My bank, my dreams? in a bid to build its loan book.
During its half year results to end of last September, the BBS recorded one of the robust profits as they jumped three fold to P 26 million against P 8 million like-on-like. The good performance of the bank was attributed to the good performance of the mortgage sector which shot-up by 91 percent to P 1.3 billion.
?I am very excited about the results which showed that the Society has performed well. We achieved a profit of P 26 million in a period of six months compared to a profit of P 30 million for the full year that ended in March 2006,? Pius Molefhe said.
BBS is in close contest with the First National Bank of Botswana whose loan book grew from P 1 billion in June to about P 1.2 billion by December 31, 2006. The two banks have put pressure on the two biggest banks, Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank of Botswana. At the announcement of its full year results of 2006, Barclays Managing Director, Tuli Johnson, indicated that they would be reviewing the bank?s strategy to take its peers head on on the mortgage front.
The bank will also use its financial muscle and its approved bond issue?the biggest in the market by far by private entities ? to stamp out competitors.
BBS, on the other hand, is expected to wage an intense fight as the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is trying to step-up its drive to sell affordable property to citizens which will also be helped by the booming mining sector. The two factors are expected to drive the property market in the right direction.
The society has been involved in a restructuring process which is aimed at making it attractive to the market by refurbishing its banking halls and the introduction of Automatic Teller Machines.
It also came up with some innovative saving programmes which are aimed at encouraging savings in the country. Savings at the bank are bulging and for the first time in its history hit P 211 million by end of September last year.