The new strategy of the “Banque de l’Habitat,” the new measures adopted in the process of audit of the bank and its financial and economic conditions are the major topics of an interview given by CEO of BH Ahmed Rjiba to Africanmanager.
There is talk of a new strategy for “BH” in terms of housing, what does it consist of?
We must remember that the core business of the bank as its name suggests is habitat. But today, our goal is to reposition the Bank again in terms of housing finance, especially after the difficulties experienced by BH in recent years.
What are the main difficulties?
As claimed by developers, the main difficulties of the bank are the deadlines for processing applications, the discrepancy between technical issues required by the bank and those presented by developers.
Added to this are the reduction of time of processing records of loans to individuals and the delay in the release of different accounts.
How do you respond to these claims?
We have created a directorate for real estate development. The latter will deal only developers and meet their key demands.
We will also shorten wait times and reduce documents required for compiling the technical file, to 20% compared to what is defined by the technical management of the BH.
Agreements between real estate developers and the bank will also be activated to enable buyers and customers of real estate developers to have credits from the bank at preferential rates.
Are housing prices going to increase in the next period?
Housing prices have certainly increased over the past years, due to the rise in the cost of raw material costs, registration fees and new taxes introduced under the Finance Act 2014.
These factors will probably impact on the increase in housing prices over the coming years.
How do you assess the financial situation of the bank in 2013?
The financial situation of the bank during the year 2013 is sufficiently acceptable. We have met the ratios set by the Central Bank. Our fundamentals are sound. The bank is among the few banks well ranked on the money market. We did not experience a liquidity crisis like other banks.
The liquidity ratio of BH exceeded 100 %, while some banks have not reached that objective set by the BCT.
And for 2014?
We will increase our efforts to restructure our network, develop a new aggressive marketing strategy to recover our customers and our market share. These are the two key components of our strategy for 2014.
We are still determined to be more aggressive in terms of recovery.
What are the banks you want to compete with?
Our main competitors are almost all commercial banks but essentially Amen Bank, our main competitor in the real estate component.
An audit work is being conducted in BH, how much progress has been made?
The first phase of the audit has been completed. We entered the second stage related to the strategic component. Firms are working to present scenarios and conclusions to the competent authorities which should take the right decision.
And what do you suggest as scenario?
We have ideas for the future of public banks, but we prefer to keep them and wait for the different scenarios that will be presented by the bank, then we will discuss the most appropriate solutions that best meet our expectations.