• Thursday, April 18, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Shehu Usman Osidi – The Mortgage Banking professional to lead a new FMBN

Shehu Usman Osidi – The Mortgage Banking professional to lead a new FMBN

The definitive, strategic, and well-crafted unveiling of housing and urban development reform initiatives by the federal government over the past couple of months shows that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s pledge to revitalise the housing sector and make homes accessible to all Nigerians is a promise that he intends to keep.

From Mr. President’s demerger of the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to his appointment of Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, a built environment professional, consummate housing finance professional, and former Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, to the holistic reforms that he has set out to implement in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda, there is a rising sense of optimism within stakeholder quarters that the nation is on the right course towards housing development.

On the heels of the inauguration of the four housing sector reform task teams in January and the recent launch of the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme, which aims to build 50,000 homes in the first phase across the country, Mr. President appointed Mr. Shehu Usman Osidi, an accomplished banker, experienced mortgage finance professional with more than 30 years’ experience in the housing and finance space, as Managing Director/Chief Executive on Thursday, 14th February 2024.

Housing industry experts have hailed the decision of Mr. President to appoint Osidi to the top leadership of the nation’s apex mortgage bank as wise, fitting, and historic, as it will enable seamless implementation of the Renewed Hope housing reforms being championed by the Hon. Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa.

Born on 10th May 1965 in Shafa-Abakpa, Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, Shehu Osidi was, prior to his appointment, the Special Assistant on Housing and Chief of Staff to the Honourable Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, with whom he also worked as a Special Assistant while the latter was Managing Director of the FMBN between 2017 and 2022.

Between 1990 and 2010, Osidi worked with four (4) commercial banks in Nigeria, starting with Lion Bank of Nigeria Plc from 1990 to 2005. He then moved on to Diamond Bank in 2005 for a one-year stint before answering the call to join Intercontinental Bank from 2006 to 2007, and Afribank Nigeria Plc from 2007 until 2010. His stellar performance at Afribank in those three years proved transformative, as he was able to turn around the fortunes of the branch within the three-month deadline, from a loss of N7 million in the first month to a profit of N6 million in his third month. He was able to maintain the performance progressively, growing the branch’s monthly profit to N18 million before his departure.

It was in 2010 that Osidi joined FMBN as an Assistant General Manager, becoming a pivotal staff of the bank.

Career highlights and achievements

Osidi significantly contributed to FMBN’s major accomplishments over the past 15 years. Just two years after joining the bank, he rose to lead the Special Products Group, excelling in this role from 2012 to 2017. His commitment to financial inclusion led him to innovate and cater to the needs of the informal sector and low-income individuals.

As Group Head of Special Products and under the guidance of the current Minister of Housing, Arc. Dangiwa, Osidi played a lead role in the development and operationalization of the Cooperative Housing Development Loan product designed to bring members of the informal sector under the umbrella of the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme. Using the scheme alone, the bank disbursed a total sum of N22.082 billion, delivering 3,540 housing units to cooperative societies across the country.

Other innovative products that he led efforts to design include the Rent-to-Own Scheme, FMBN Home Renovation Loan, and the Diaspora NHF Mortgage Loan product. The Home Renovation Loan was introduced to widen the beneficiary net of the NHF scheme, affording contributors with limited affordability the chance to enjoy low-hanging fruits, up to N1 million to upgrade, renovate, expand, or complete their homes. Within the period, the Bank under the visionary leadership of the current Housing Minister disbursed a total of N80.1 billion to 77,575 beneficiaries in Home Renovation Loans.

On the other hand, the Diaspora Mortgage Loan sought to address two key issues; providing more Nigerians with access to affordable homeownership and tapping into the housing finance opportunity that the $20 billion annual diaspora remittance offers. The Rent-to-Own product allowed beneficiaries to simply move into an FMBN-funded house and pay up the cost as monthly or annual rent, at single-digit interest rate. No equity contribution is required from such a subscriber. A total of N1.14 billion was disbursed to 76 beneficiaries in what were the early days of the scheme.

An expert in International Housing Finance matters, Osidi was a crucial part of the Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa team that initiated and implemented transformational policies and actions, causing the bank to achieve its most historic milestones between 2017 and 2022 throughout its 30-year history. From his role in the development and implementation of a Six-Point Agenda for the new management which resumed in April 2017, to the passionate pursuit of automation across the bank’s processes, micro-management, and completion of nine out of 26 abandoned projects, aggressive debt recovery, and implementation of the Enterprise-wide Risk Management Framework to cut down the incidence of non-performing loans.

Osidi, as a key staff and confidante of the then Managing Director of FMBN, now Housing Minister, contributed to the historic milestones recorded. This includes the creation of an additional 14,339 housing units, creation of additional mortgages to 5,398 beneficiaries, and the issuance of N9.5 billion in Bankable Off-taker Guarantee, the downward review of the bank’s equity contribution from 30% to as low as 10% for loans between N5 million and N15 million; and 0% for loans under N5 million.

Others include the development and implementation of the collaborative programme between the bank and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), resulting in the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme for Nigerian Workers (NAHDEP). In the first phase alone, 1,800 housing units were delivered in 16 states across the country, with the second and third phases still being implemented.

Osidi was also part of a “Think Tank” that the FMBN put together to engage the National Assembly on needed amendments to the NHF and FMBN Acts, towards ensuring their passage. Those constructive engagements led to the passage of the bills in both chambers of the legislature, with only the presidential assent left to bring about reforms that will help revamp the housing sector in Nigeria.

Education and qualifications

Osidi obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Bayero University, Kano in 2002 and is an alumnus of several globally recognized institutions, such as the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA in 2014; Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, 2014; and a host of other short courses and workshops, gaining crucial knowledge of Leadership, Governance, Performance Optimization, Project Management, and Diaspora Mortgage.

He is also skilled in Public Finance Management and International Financial and Reporting Standard. Osidi is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPM); a full Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (MNIM), an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (HCIB); a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration (FICA), and a Certified National Accountant (CNA).

A thoroughbred professional with a penchant for results

Shehu Osidi is a professional with a drive to do things professionally and in line with best practices. This quality made him an asset to the FMBN and a competent pillar of support to Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa’s vision to reform the FMBN, especially cleaning its books and repositioning the bank for beneficial collaborations. As of April 2017, when Dangiwa came on board, the bank had piled up a backlog of unaudited accounts for five years, 2013 to 2017. As a confidant and key member of the erstwhile MD’s team, his contributions helped the Bank clear the arrears and bring its accounts up to date.

His relentless pursuit of excellence in service delivery and commendable work ethic were just some of the qualities that endeared him to Arc. Dangiwa. So, when the call to serve as Minister of the Federal Republic was made, it was no surprise that Osidi was pulled out of the FMBN to double as the Minister’s Special Assistant on Housing and Chief of Staff. Within six months, he proved his worth once again, helping to espouse and drive the vision of the Minister in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Under the guidance of the Hon. Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, Osidi successfully led the technical team which developed the Blueprint and Action Plan in line with the president’s agenda for housing and urban development. From outlining a framework for establishing credible, scientific, and reliable housing data for planning and policy formulation to boosting institutional capacity of agencies under the Ministry to deliver the Renewed Hope Vision for Housing and increasing the supply of affordable housing, those initial steps were necessary to clearly outline the priorities of the Ministry in line with the multi-dimensional challenges facing the sector.

Osidi also played a vital role as the Hon. Minister’s Lead Man in developing a framework for implementing historic Land Reforms, establishing the National Social Housing Fund, establishing Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country, and the development of New Cities. The Teams were inaugurated by the Minister in January 2024 with the mandate to produce blueprints for Land Reforms, Housing Institutions Reforms, Multi-Agency Delivery, and the establishment of Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs.

The new FMBN MD/CE also played a key role in the signing of the MoU with a consortium of developers to build 100,000 housing units nationwide under the Ministry’s Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme which Mr. President launched early this month.

Towards a transformed FMBN for improved housing impact

Known for his ability to spot talents and task them with the right responsibilities, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu may just have performed a masterstroke with this new appointment. With Osidi at the helm of the FMBN, stakeholders in the sector are already expressing optimism that better days of valuable impact are in sight. He is what pundits like to call a “round peg in a round hole”, having spent three decades in banking and mortgage finance.

With promises of institutional reforms flooding the airwaves, there is a clear indication that the president has matched words with action as far as the FMBN is concerned. In Osidi, the Federal Government may have found a dependable collaborator in its bid to provide decent and affordable homes and livable cities and communities for Nigerians across all income brackets.

 

.Imhoagene is a housing analyst and commentator based in Abuja.