Finance has become a key limitation for women to thrive in sectors they find themselves.
Research has shown that a lot of the times, when women are the funders, they often take the back seat, while those who can’t access fund have been limited in expanding their businesses.
With real estate becoming a major contributor to Nigeria’s economy, the impact of women in moving this sector forward cannot be overemphasized. According to United Nations Women group, when more women work, economies grow; women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income.
It is therefore in a bid to ensure gender inclusion in this sector that Abbey Mortgage Bank strives to empower its female clients, by financing construction projects owned or managed by women through its newly launched innovative product for women called WIRE: (Women in Real Estate).
WIRE: Women in Real Estate is designed to provide tailored finance (including construction finance) that cater to the unique needs and challenges faced by women-owned real estate and construction businesses. Whether it’s startup capital, project financing, or growth funds, Abbey Mortgage Bank is committed to supporting women as they enter the real estate industry or take their ventures to new heights.
The theme of the launch event, “Financing Women to Thrive in the Real Estate Industry,” perfectly captured their vision of this innovative initiative.
The panelists, representing diverse expertise, included Tosin Ajose, a prominent business lawyer at DealHQ Partners; Eunice Obasohan, the MD/CEO of Lily Homes Limited; Esv. Olabisi Omotayo Demola-Alade, former chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers; Tokunbo Sherifat Sule-Owuda, a reputable Architect and owner of Walsher DB Ltd; and Abbey’s very own Lolita Ejiofor, General Manager, Group Head of IT & Operations, who played a pivotal role in bringing WIRE to fruition.
Lolita Ejiofor shared her insights during the event, stating, “At Abbey Mortgage Bank, we believe that economic empowerment knows no gender bounds. WIRE is not just a financial service; it’s a platform for women to overcome obstacles and redefine the real estate landscape. We are paving the way for women to excel, lead, and create a lasting impact not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”
According to her, the benefits of the product are longer pay back time, lower interest rates and training and mentorship.
“We would check in on them to know that their project is moving as smoothly as they would like and the financing is helping. So, they would get all these added advantages,” Ejiofor said.
Tokunbo Sherifat Sule-Owuda who also spoke during the launch of the product said women have the insight and opportunities but a lot of the times, the women are the funders but they only take the back seat.
“A lot of the times, the women are the backbone of the monies the men bring forward. Because we, women shy away and we try to subdue ourselves, all in the societal norm of not wanting to be seen as being proud, women take the back seat and put the men in the front.
“When push comes to shove and they need the financing at the end of the day, it is the husband’s name that is in the paper. They don’t have that access anymore and they are thrown under the garbage immediately. So, women are encouraged to move forward and show up presently.
“You can support your spouse and do everything for him but do it such that you would also be at advantage and make sure you have the right intent, so that when the window of opportunity opens up for you, you can show up for yourself, your family and your children. But when we take the back seat and eventually need the money, we won’t have the collateral to put forward,” Sule-Owuda said.
Olabisi Omotayo Demola-Alade said the WIRE product is a good one and an eye opener for the women in real estate to know that women are being appreciated and they will always have the support of Abbey Mortgage Bank in whatever real estate aspect they want to go into.
Demola-Alade said Lagos State has put forward a recent policy that if you are looking into taking in land officers, women must be put into consideration. “We notice that woman perform better than men in most of the cases,” she added.
According to Eunice Obasohan, the WIRE is a big opportunity for women in real estate, adding that apart from low interest rates, the Mortgage bank has promised they will provide opportunities for hand holding programmes where they would provide financial literacy.
She said networking is another huge opportunity that comes with the product.