By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU
It was not out of place that the affable chief executive officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank, Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, was named in 2018 by the organizers of the Nigeria Housing Awards as the 2018 Mortgage Finance Person of the Year in the male category.
Many industry players have commended him for the style of running the mortgage bank which has set him apart from other past chief executive officers. Many industry players who spoke to this newspaper agreed that his tenure has witnessed tremendous progress. Undeniably, he has put to work his over 30 years of experience in the real estate business.
Consequently, his accomplishments in the design and delivery of mortgage and real estate have set him apart. He is taking a number of innovative approaches towards attaining social mass housing in Nigeria. One area he has made his mark is the finesse to work out new capacity building at FMBN aimed at strengthening the institution to effectively catalyse the provision of affordable social housing to Nigerians.
According findings by BusinessHallmark, Dangiwa is pushing aggressively the process of injecting N500 billion recapitalization money into the bank. This is planned to boost the institution’s capacity to create affordable mortgages in the country.
He has endeared his name into the minds of quite a number of stakeholders and players in the industry through some radical decisions, such as management of the path of social mass housing to include the removal of the matching funds requirement for mortgage loans of N5 million and below.
Another big step forward is the slashing of the beneficiary’s contribution for mortgage loans of up to N15 million from 30% of cost to 10%.
It is also to Dangiwa’s credit that access to housing loans to Nigerian workers under the National Housing Fund [NHF] scheme has increased considerably. He has taken upon himself the task of getting FMBN play the leading role in facing the challenge of bridging the huge housing deficit in Nigeria and creating a robust and thriving mortgage finance market.
This newspaper learnt that in just one and half years of coming into office in the bank, he has introduced a number of changes meant to speed up internal processes and enhance service delivery. His starting point was building the human resource quality, improving skills and expertise needed to make the bank run on a new system of efficiency, accountability and transparency.
He has implemented business process automation, under which he has deployed technology as an end-to-end business process within the institution. This involves the adoption of core banking applications and wide area network that incorporates mobile and internet solutions. These have enabled key banking processes with direct links to primary mortgage institutions and customers, including credit alerts to NHF contributors.
In addition to recapitalization, Dangiwa is exploring other measures to boost the bank’s liquidity and capacity to play its role effectively. In collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), he is combing Nigeria’s entire business space to fish out and enlist all corporate organizations for the NHF scheme. By enlisting non-contributing organizations and enforcing compliance, the FMBN’s boss hopes to increase substantially remittances to the NHF and consequently his bank’s capacity to meet the long-term mortgage financing needs of Nigerians.
Part of the efficiency improvement effort is shortening the process of NHF refunds. Consequently, NHF retirees can now complete the refund processes easily, which is seen as one big step ahead the new management of the bank has taken towards the goal of affordable housing for retirees.
The condensed procedure now ensures prompt repayment of funds to the scheme’s contributors. Monthly NHF refunds and disbursement of NHF mortgage and home renovation loans have increased considerably.
Further to that is the broadening of the NHF base to capture the informal sector with the admission of non-salaried people into the scheme. This means that self employed and others outside the organized private sector now have access to affordable housing products of the bank.
Part of the initiative includes re-integrating defaulting states into the NHF scheme. Dangiwa has since opened talks with states that dropped out of the scheme and is quite determined to have them back on board of the NHF scheme. Considering the various mortgage financing products on offer, he is keen to ensure that no section of Nigerians is denied access to housing development opportunities.
The institution has embarked on aggressive loan recovery that has improved its loan portfolio quality. The steps taken include engaging debt collectors and automating loan repayment debits from customers’ bank accounts. Timely rendition of audited accounts has been given priority and a task force has been constituted with a mandate to clear a backlog of outstanding financial statements since 2013 by end of 2018.
Dangiwa is on a mission to create a mortgage financing system with viable institutions that can advance homeownership for the largest possible number of people. His aim is to reposition the bank as a foremost apex mortgage institution in the country and provide affordable financing options for intending homeowners through transparent operations.
He is taking comprehensive steps to empower the entire sector with a view to stimulating mortgage recovery. He is working with relevant bodies in the public and private sectors to make land acquisition by mortgage loan beneficiaries easier and also to improve land registration practices.
He is also pressing for a reduction in the interest rate on mortgage loans in order to encourage people to use mortgage financing options for housing development and acquisitions.
Dangiwa is tackling headlong a major drawback for primary mortgage institutions, the Land Use Act of 1978 that vests land ownership in the state governors. Other steps towards elevating the industry include the right to foreclose on delinquent borrowers, easing the creation of legal mortgage, perfection of titles and enhanced regulatory policy framework for orderly development and growth of the industry.
Dangiwa said the bank will build 100 housing units in each state and the Federal Capital Territory to address housing deficit in Nigeria. He said this in Abuja a month ago when Isa Pantami, the Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency paid him a courtesy visit.
“We are into collaboration with the Nigerian Labour Congress with a plan to deliver 100 housing units in every state of the federation. We have six states now where we have done ground breaking and within the next one month, we will start commissioning them while we are still doing ground breaking in the other states,’’ he said.
Mr. Dangiwa said that the bank was in collaboration with lots of stakeholders to build affordable houses for low income workers. According to him, due to the high price of houses built by developers, the bank created the cooperative housing project to help workers. He said that 30 cooperative groups have been funded so far.
“Dangiwa is of different cast; he has tried to reposition the mortgage bank for relevance “, Architect Sunday Obaje, a senior partner at Archbuilt told this newspaper.
In his own assessment, Professor Muhammad Sani of the department of Architecture, University of Ilorin told BusinessHallmark that ” Dangiwa ‘s tenure has been truly remarkable going by his commitment to build about 100 houses in each state of the federation, his open door style of administration and the many achievements he has leveled on.”
Henry Anene, a senior staff at the Federal Ministry of Housing in a telephone chat with this newspaper said” Dangiwa has truly made the Federal Mortgage Bank to be relevant, now Nigerians are beginning to see what the agency is for the first time since 1977.”
Dangiwa has his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Architecture from the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. He is a consummate administrator and successful architect.
By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU