Nedbank and AFD to fund houses

Published Oct 11, 2013


Affordable housing ownership in South Africa is to receive a boost from a partnership between Nedbank and the French Development Agency (AFD).

Nedbank said yesterday that it had introduced a R17 000 grant provided by the AFD to boost ownership in this sector of the market. The bank’s initiative will be supported by its borrowers education programme, which aims to empower consumers through knowledge and instil financial fitness principles.

The initiative follows the significant shot in the arm given last month to the development of affordable housing in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa through the investment of more than $63 million (R630m) into the second fund of global private equity investor International Housing Solutions (IHS). The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, has contributed $25m to the fund. The National Housing Finance Corporation, a South African state-owned development finance entity, contributed R300m.

Timothy Akinnusi, Nedbank Home Loans’ head of sales and client value management, said the bank was delighted at the partnership with the AFD to help make home ownership a reality for qualifying entry-level buyers.

“We are confident this will increase the pool of homeowners in South Africa, particularly within the affordable housing market, focusing on buyer advocacy, ownership and maintenance of a home.”

Akinnusi said the joint commitment with the AFD had the entry-level market at heart because this initiative would assist in significantly bringing down the initial cost of the bond amount for this market while also helping to improve education on home ownership in a sustainable manner.

“We believe through this partnership we can make a meaningful contribution to the long-term plans of the Department of Human Settlements aimed at addressing the housing backlog.”

The grant is available to South African citizens who are first-time home buyers with a single or joint gross monthly income of up to R17 600.

On completing the borrowers education programme, participants will be given a certificate enabling them to apply for a home loan through a Nedbank mobile home loans sales consultant. Successful applicants will qualify for a R17 000 grant from the AFD, instantly reducing the outstanding bond amount owed by the new homeowner.

Jean-Michel Debrat, the director of the Johannesburg regional office of AFD, a public development finance institution of the French government, said it was seeking to develop a sustainable supply of home loans for low-income households through the partnership with Nedbank.

He said AFD financing made it possible to reduce the amount of capital borrowed by these households and to implement training for borrowers.

Jeff Lawrence, the head of affordable housing home loans at Nedbank, said the borrowers education programme was Nedbank’s latest demonstration of its ongoing commitment to making banking more accessible to all in South Africa and was available at no cost to clients.

“We designed the programme to improve individuals’ circumstances and help uplift communities as a whole.

“We want those who attend the borrowers education programme to spread the word in their communities… so that we have more people owning homes.”

Lawrence said people could only get an AFD grant if they attended the training programme because it equipped them with valuable information that allowed them to understand the implications of owning a home and maintaining it.

He said the programme played a key role in helping to combat defaults, which could take place in the early stages of repaying a mortgage.

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