By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK Trade and Industry Minister, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, last week officially opened the new premises of Bank Windhoek’s Specialist Finance Division. The Bank Windhoek Specialist Finance Division and new mini-branch are located in the Ashirwad Building and the adjacent, newly constructed WHK House in Ausspannplatz. The bank says the new premises will offer clients the advantage of being able to obtain financing products and banking services at one convenient location. According to Bank Windhoek, the Specialist Finance Division offers a wide range of products and services ranging from property finance, SME finance to vehicle and asset finance. Micro-finance will be provided to the bank’s clients through BW Finance, another affiliate of Bank Windhoek’s parent company, Capricorn Investment Holdings. The new mini-branch will be serviced by Bank Windhoek’s main branch in Independence Avenue with clients being able to do all their day-to-day banking at the agency. Speaking at the occasion, Ngatjizeko stressed that Namibia’s economy needed to grow at double the present rate to meet the challenges of unemployment, poverty alleviation and wealth creation for all citizens. His ministry therefore promotes small and medium enterprises to ensure that formerly disadvantaged Namibians are included in the mainstream of the economy. He was glad to note that Bank Windhoek’s SME branch – also part of the Special Finance Division – has established several valuable partnerships. These include partnerships with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Development Bank of Namibia and the German Development Service. “These partnerships will further grow and stimulate the SME sector in Namibia. Our country is in great need of innovative and dynamic entrepreneurs that will establish businesses and satisfy market needs, which will result in increased economic growth,” he noted. The minister, nevertheless, cautioned against the dangers of high bank charges, saying exorbitant bank charges will stifle the very SMEs they are trying to help. Bank Windhoek Managing Director James Hill disclosed that the Ausspannplatz mini-branch was established at a cost of approximately N$500 000. This investment, he said, includes state-of-the-art security systems to ensure the safety and protection of the bank’s staff and clients. The Specialist Finance Division had grown considerably in the past financial year with the total property finance book increasing from N$1 276 billion in June 2005 to N$ 1,571 billion in June 2006. Hill said despite the strong competition during the past year, property finance continued to boast a home loans book of N$1.3 billion, giving it a market share of 24%. “Apart from maintaining its market share in the home loan market, property finance continued to play a leading role in the financing of property development projects, especially in Windhoek and the coastal region,” Hill said. The Property Finance branch is also a leading provider of housing schemes in Namibia and manages the housing schemes of some of the biggest local companies.
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