The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has restated its commitment to the speedy processing of qualified housing loan applications in line with its mandate to boost the provision of affordable housing to Nigerian workers that are registered contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme.
The MD/CEO, FMBN, Mr. Ahmed Dangiwa, was quoted in a statement to have said this while assessing results of the bank's strategic efforts to clear backlog of housing loan applications; tackle longstanding issues of delays in the treatment of loan applications and disbursement of funds by subscribers to the NHF scheme.
He, however, added that the bank's weak financial capitalisation remains a major handicap to its ability to deliver on its social housing mandate of affordable housing.
To this end, restated his call on the federal government to increase the capitalisation of the bank from the meagre N5 billion - with only N2.56 billion fully paid up - to N500 billion, as a necessary first step to strengthening the capacity of the bank to meet the housing demands of Nigerian workers.
According to him, a stronger capital base for the bank would put the institution in a better place to leverage more finance from the private sector, capital market and international development agencies for deployment towards the provision of affordable housing to Nigerian workers.
He explained that the proactive efforts of the current management of the bank led to a 45 per cent increase in the speed of processing NHF housing loan applications, adding that as a result, the bank has been able to reduce substantially the huge backlog of loan applications that they met when they assumed office two years ago.
"I am pleased to note that we have recorded unprecedented improvement in the turnaround time of NHF loan applications.
"While before now it used to take an average of two years to process an NHF loan, we have been able to bring this down to four months. This is a significant improvement.
"Of course, we are still not where we want to be, but at least we are now moving in the right direction and intend to do more.
"From day one, improving the turnaround time of housing loan applications has been the priority of our management because we understood quite early that it has been a big issue over the years, which has led to the accumulation of huge backlog.
"When we came on board, we set out clear strategies to reduce it. And we have made decent progress.
"From 2017, when we came on board to date, we have been able to successfully process and disburse loans totaling N75.5 billion. This includes 3,541 mortgages and 25,242 home renovation loans. We have also financed the construction of over 7,286 housing units within this period," he added.
These figures, according to him, represented a marked improvement in the performance of the scheme since it was established 27 years ago.
Speaking specifically concerning the backlog of housing loan applications, the FMBN boss said the institution would continue to prioritise the 100 per cent clearing of all qualified housing loan applications that have gone through the various stages.
He added that the bank was aware that though it has made significant progress in reducing the backlog and disbursing loans to beneficiaries, efforts would be sustained to ensure that everyone is attended to.
Furthermore, Dangiwa seized the opportunity to appeal to its partner primary mortgage banks to key into the efforts of the FMBN to improve turnaround time for NHF mortgage loans by ensuring speedy treatment of applications and prompt forwarding to FMBN for approval and disbursement.
He applauded the support and recent calls from the National Assembly leadership, industry leaders and stakeholders for the government to empower the FMBN so it can play a stronger and wider role in tackling the spiraling housing deficit.