At a time when people think that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) should be taken to the cleaners, the apex mortgage bank is springing pleasant surprises with an innovative, technology-driven idea that has given birth to e-Card platform which has enabled it to take the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to a new level.
With this NHF e-Collection Platform, FMBN has raised the NHF monthly collection by 214 percent to N2.2 billion, up from N700 million it collected before the platform was deployed six months ago. The bank estimates a further 100 percent increase in collection to achieve about N4 billion per month before the end of this year.
The apex mortgage bank has successfully funded the construction and infrastructure provision for the ‘FMBN Aviation Village’ Housing Estate developed by Suntrust Real Estate Investment Limited, a private developer, to the tune of N2.4 billion. The 270 housing-unit estate sitting on 11.9 hectares of land comprises 144 units of two-bedroom flats, 50 units of three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 76 units of three-bedroom detached bungalows.
Gimba Kumo, managing director of the bank, who disclosed this at the launch of the e-Card platform and commissioning of the housing estate by President Goodluck Jonathan recently, also informed that the bank was advancing concessionary mortgages to NHF contributors at 6 percent interest rate in line with government’s directive for a single-digit interest rate regime.
He added that the bank had approved N1.4 billion mortgage loan for 171 NHF contributors out of which about 20 beneficiaries are occupying their houses, assuring that mortgage loans for the remaining 99 units were being processed and would be concluded before long.
Kumo explained that NHF e-Collection Platform was aimed to ensure proper record-keeping, transparency and accountability for NHF collections, adding that the platform prevents flagrant violation of the NHF Act and unlawful practices by employers who fail to effect statutory deductions, remit deductions to the FMBN or provide remittance schedules by which contributors’ monies are easily misappropriated.
“The NHF e-Card is a huge step forward in delivering the advantages of speed, accuracy, transparency, accountability and superior customer experiences to NHF contributors. It serves dual purposes. First, it serves as an Identification Card (ID) as it carries the name, participation number and passport photograph of every registered contributor. Secondly, it enables a contributor to access records of his or her contributions using any of the IT channels such as ATM, Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals or the internet,” he said.
“Using the NHF e-Collection Platform web portal, a contributor is able to review his or her record of contributions online and print out a statement of account at a computer workstation from anywhere in the world,” he explained further.
Kumo added that contributors could use the NHF e-Card as an e-Purse that could be loaded with extra cash to make purchases via POS terminals or online, pointing out, however, that the portion of funds belonging to NHF contributions would not be available for spending.
He listed other milestones achieved by the bank as 65 percent growth in cumulative NHF collections and 42 percent growth in total loan disbursements within just 32 months; 196 percent increase in NHF refunds to qualifying contributors, and the introduction of the Informal Sector Housing Cooperative Scheme to provide mortgage services to non-salaried workers who constitute over 85 percent of the Nigerian working population.
By: ODINAKA MBONU