The Bank of Kigali (BK) Plc has sensitized Human Resource Managers from different institutions in Kigali to encourage their staff to take advantage of existing mortgage products which are currently offered at a very low interest rate.
The dialogue held in Kigali this June 16, 2023 comes at a time when Rwanda has secured funding for affordable housing worth $150million (est. Rwf160billion) to enable Rwandans to “own a home” through financial services and real estate development.
“Through the Bank of Kigali “own a home” (Gira Iwawe) product is now offering housing financing at 11% in a bid to implement the government policy of enabling every Rwandan to own a home,” said Yves Kayihura, the BK Head of Retail Banking.
Kayihura said that so far under this product they have offered mortgage loans worth over a billion francs and more than 800 applicants are already lined up for the next batch of homes-to-be-owned.
“The appetite for owning homes has increased as a result of the revised requirements which have been opened for one to own a house outside a designated village settlement, Kayihura said.
To make this service readily available to all Rwandans, the bank has set up the only Mortgage center in Rwanda- located in Remera, Gasabo district that connects the applicants with the 10 existing property developers and funding from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) affordable housing facility.
This process takes two weeks for an applicant to secure a home loan. An employee earning not more than Rwf1.2million per month get a Rwf40million home at 11% interest, and those earning not more than Rwf1.5million salary per month can get up to Rwf60million.
Noel Nsanzimana, the Acting Director General of Rwanda Housing Authority said that the affordable housing facility intends to increase numbers of homeowners through mortgage loans offered by several commercial banks including the Bank of Kigali.
Through initiatives like the affordable housing program, the government seeks to address low and middle-income communities and aims to create 150,000 new dwellings annually to meet the projected demand of 5.5 million dwellings by 2050.
Nsanzimana said that the target is to reach 15,000 homes in the next six years and so far, through the affordable housing facility, 1,800 units and will reach 4,000 units next year.
“We want to gradually increase the housing units because the program implementation depends on the needs and we are hopeful that this will work out,” Nsanzimana said.
To increase the number of housing units, the Bank of Kigali has secured partnership with ten developers who have also seen a high uptake.
For instance, the ADHI Corporate, who in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, unveiled the new Bwiza Riverside Community project (with Affordable and Green-Certified Homes) in 2022 plans to construct 1,680 affordable houses and 720 luxury units.
Others are the Homart Properties who are using a Chinese real estate model to construct the high rise energy efficient Greenland plaza in Kigali; NextGen developers who are also constructing earthquake resistant homes starting within Bugesera district and SEE FAR Housing (SFH) that is developing durably- and sustainably designed one- to four-bedroom homes in Kabeza.
For one employee to get one of the above homes, Agnes Kagwisagye, the BK Mortgage Center Manager said that Human resource managers should understand the available products to expose them to their employees.
“We implore you (HR managers) to encourage your respective staff to own a home, especially the new young employees who have to build a future before growing old,” Kagwisagye said.
The BK team also showcased other housing products such as the Home Equity which allows one to earn extra money and also get a mortgage loan of up to 70% with a 15.5% interest rate and a 20 years’ repayment period and the Construction mortgage which comes with 80% funding and 15% interest rate for real estate developers.
Suzan Mutamba, an HR Manager at Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) said that most of the BK products were not explicitly known but the dialogue will be a starting point to pitch the ideas to other employees.
“This has been an eye-opener for most of the products and we will invite BK to have an extensive session with employees to explain details and answer questions on a one-on-one basis,” Mutamba said.
To enhance its objective of digital transformation, BK said that most of the products are now available on BK Apps, online and through internet banking, and revealed that they are working on the loan applications to be done digitally.
Some of the digital services that provide seamless experience, convenience and customer satisfaction without moving a step include the BK Quick (‘BQuick’) which allows one to borrow up to Rwf500,000 in seconds.
The Bulk Push- which allows HR managers to disburse salaries at their convenience, and the BK Loan Repayment Feature- which allows one to follow up their loan performance, and the USSD code-based services to pay taxes anytime.
Barbara Kayitesi, a Product Manager with BK says that the goal is to reach a level where every Rwandan will do business with convenience, with security and no hustle, in a bid to give customers the power to manage their banking services.