ooba, formerly MortgageSA, new powerhouse in one stop homeowner services

MortgageSA, the country's leading bond originator, which pioneered the industry in South Africa just under a decade ago, announced today that it will be changing its name to "ooba". The name change reflects the company's evolved offering which now extends beyond bond origination.

ooba, an authorised financial services provider, currently offers the full spectrum of homebuyer related financial services including bond origination and all related insurance and assurance products. The company also operates the country's largest online property search portal for homebuyers, with over 144 000 homes from the country's leading estate agencies.

Coinciding with the name change, ooba has launched a new credit card for homeowners.

The company's fully integrated homeowner services offerings have been re-branded oobasearch, oobabond, oobainsure, and oobacard, respectively.

Saul Geffen, Chief Executive of ooba says that "the name MortgageSA no longer reflects the diversity of services and expertise that the company offers its clients. The offerings have for some time extended well beyond mortgage origination, and our name needed to change to facilitate our vision."

"We've developed our bond origination expertise into a complete home-ownership solution that offers convenience, expertise and savings for the homeowner. With the addition of the oobacard, ooba is the only company in South Africa able to offer homebuyers a complete solution from searching for a home, to financing it, insuring it and ultimately enjoying living in it" says Geffen.

"ooba" is derived from the universally used word über, meaning "super", "the ultimate", "the best".

"The oobacard is unlike any credit card offered in South Africa as it is specifically geared to save homeowners money when moving into their home," says Geffen. "The oobacard is exclusively available to customers who have sourced their home loan finance through oobabond".

The oobacard gives cardholders significant discounts of between 7.5%-35% at the leading national retailers and providers of home-related products and services, including Mr Price Home, Weylandts, ADT Security, SA Paving, Pickfords, Glasfit, Wonder Flooring, Water Comfort, House of Paint and MWEB. The entire discount programme is totally automated, and cardholder discounts either reflect at point-of-sale, or on the cardholder's statement, depending on the merchant.

"When a customer buys a house they will go through the costly exercise of moving into the home and spending on household contents, services and improvements," says Geffen. "The oobacard provides access to credit to manage the costs of moving, and gives substantial savings on everything from the move, to improving the property, buying necessary household goods and securing vital services like security and internet connectivity."

The oobacard offers all the benefits of a gold card, as well as the additional advantage of a garage card with free roadside assistance. The oobacard is issued in partnership with ABSA Bank, under licence of MasterCard.

"ooba now provides homebuyers with the first fully comprehensive homeowner services company in South Africa," concludes Geffen.

Hello ooba news

ooba (formerly MortgageSA) welcomed the 0.5% interest rate cut announced yesterday by the South African Reserve Bank which will save South African home owners an estimated R259m in home loan repayments each month, but says more cuts are needed.

According to a new poll by South Africa's leading property listings website, nearly a third of home hunters decide that a property is right for them before they even enter the house - and a kitchen is overwhelmingly the most important room when it comes to the buying decision.

Propertygenie.co.za has entered into a partnership with fractionalownership.co.za to provide access to the latest fractional ownership listings which will be available from the 12 December, 2008.

South Africans spent over R10 billion during the festive season last year. This year ooba suggests carefully planning your holiday season spending to avoid a financial hangover in January 2009. "Festive season debt can take months to pay off in the new year," says Jenny Rushin, Provincial Sales Manager for ooba (formerly MortgageSA).

Weak economic conditions, higher interest rates and the global credit crisis have forced banks to be far more picky about who they will lend money and less generous with their lending rates. But Mary Jane Lefevre, Regional Sales Manager of ooba, said that before you apply for a home loan, there are steps you can take to improve your credit status and encourage lenders to look more favourably on your application.