NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan’s Otbasy Bank launched a mortgage program for women on April 12, according to the bank’s press service release.
The program, titled “Umay”, is designed to promote gender equality in housing finance and is being implemented with loans from the Asian Development Bank totaling 38 billion tenge (US$88 million).
To participate in the program, a woman’s monthly income must not exceed 320,000 tenge (US$741). There are also no restrictions on the choice of housing, as both primary and resale housing are eligible. The loan could also be given out for housing repair.
The cost of purchased housing must not exceed 30 million tenge (US$69,475), while the amount loaned for housing repair is up to 3.7 million tenge (US$8,568).
The loan interest rate is 12 percent with a subsequent reduction to five percent, while the downpayment is between 15 to 50 percent.
The Otbasy Bank, where 56 percent of borrowers are women, seeks to boost women’s economic activity and increase the number of women homeowners.
“The bank launched women’s mortgages after receiving many requests from women to develop a program with a low down payment of 20 percent. Another request was that housing could be purchased on the resale housing market. (…) Based on these factors, even with the high cost of resources, we expect the demand for this program to be high enough,” said head of the Otbasy Bank Lyazzat Ibragimova.
In Kazakhstan, women earn on average one third less than men. Many find it more difficult to access affordable mortgages. But women’s compliance with payment schedules is better, said Ibragimova.
“When we work with women, we see that women all over Kazakhstan have lower salaries than men. According to statistics, 56 percent of our borrowers are women. Firstly, women are better at saving money. Secondly, women pay the loan on time, so we opened this program together with the Asian Development Bank to help women,” said Ibragimova, as quoted by informburo.kz.