Remarks by H.E. Babatunde Fashola at the Inauguration of Board of Management of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria

Babatunde Fashola, Federal Ministry of WorksandHousing says that when the founders of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) conceived of it in the 1970s, they were clear in their minds of a few things.

One of the things was that they were creating a Bank, in every sense of the word, and that they were creating a specialized Bank, which they intended to do only one thing – to provide Mortgage Banking services.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola

All of these are self-evident from Section 1(i) where it was provided that:

(i) There is hereby established a Mortgage Bank to be known as the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “the Mortgage Bank”.

In Section 5 of the Act the functions of the Mortgage Bank are set out clearly as follows:

 According to Mr. Babatunde Fashola,   “The functions of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria shall be to:

a) provide long-term credit facilities to mortgage institutions in Nigeria at such rates and such terms as may be determined by the Board in accordance with the policy by the Federal Government, being rates and terms designed to enable the mortgage institutions to grant comparable facilities to Nigerian individuals desiring to acquire houses of their own;

b) license and encourage the emergence and growth of the required number of viable secondary mortgage institutions to service the need of housing delivery in all parts of Nigeria;

c) encourage and promote the development of mortgage institutions at rural, Local, State and Federal levels;

d) supervise and control the activities of mortgage institutions in Nigeria;

e) collect, manage and administer the National Housing Fund in accordance with the provisions of the National Housing Fund Act; and

f) do anything and enter into any transaction which in the opinion of the Board is necessary to ensure the proper performance of its functions under this Act.

The powers of the mortgage Bank are set out in Section 6 as follows:

(i) Without prejudice to the generality of section 5 of this Act, the Mortgage Bank shall have power to:

(a) accept deposits and savings from mortgage institutions and other institutional depositors;

(b) issue its own securities, including debentures and bonds under Federal Government guarantees and issue promissory notes and other bills of exchange for the purpose of raising funds from financial institutions;

(c) establish a sinking fund for the redemption of securities by the Mortgage Bank and provide for contributions by it to the sinking fund;

(d) carry out research aimed at improving housing patterns and standards in both urban and rural areas of Nigeria; and

(e) carry out research on mortgage finance activities and the building construction industry in Nigeria;

(f) provide and operate, in collaboration with reputable insurance companies, a mortgage protection system designed to guarantee liquidity to mortgage institutions as well as afford them the opportunity of having liberal premium terms; and

(g) do anything and enter into any transaction which in its opinion is necessary to ensure the proper performance of its functions under the Act.

Babatunde Fashola Spells out Mandates

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have taken time to address the Law setting up the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria you have been appointed to administer, so as to leave you in no doubt whatsoever, as to what your mandate and purpose is.

As a creature of Law, you are forbidden from making the Bank do anything that the Law does not authorize it to do, and you can become individually and corporately liable for non-compliance with the Law.

This has become the important starting point for my inauguration remarks because in the tenure of previous Boards and Managements before this Administration, the Bank has been made to do things the Law did not contemplate and this has resulted in hobbling liabilities which I regret to inform you that you must now confront and resolve.

In addition I expect this Management and Board to bring to a Lawful end, all other ventures into which the Bank has dabbled which are not supported by Law.

I expect this to happen through due process, supported by Legal consultations, Board debates and decisions and Ministerial or Presidential approvals as may be necessary.

Your primary mandate is to re-position this Mortgage Bank as the pre-eminent Mortgage Bank for Nigeria as envisioned by the founders.

This is why you will see that majority of the Members of the Board are either Bankers by training or Bankers by work experience spanning several decades.

The reason is clear, all the regulatory obligations that the Bank has to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must be complied with.

I would advise that the Board and Management should at the earliest opportunity engage with the CBN and agree a Schedule of Compliance and Implementation of all reform initiatives including the computerization of the operations of the Bank which has begun.

As you will see, not only is there a prevalence of Bankers amongst your ranks, there is diversity of ethnicity, gender and religion. Every Zone of the 6 Zones in Nigeria is represented and from 1 female member, we now have 3 female members of the Board.

Please let me be also very clear that this is a huge privilege for you as it has been for me, to be amongst the few Nigerians involved in the public service of our country.

It is not an opportunity for self-help but an opportunity to help others, especially to own a home, by rendering selfless service.

Therefore, I will share with you the advice I have shared recently with an institution I inaugurated last week.

We are not in our homes; we are in a public space, where we have to work with others in a team to achieve results. Those other people may not speak like us or dress like us, or even eat what we eat or pray like us. But they are part of us, a part of the diversity that we have been enriched with.

If we manage our ego, we will realize that they are not different from us and we have a lot in common and we can learn a lot from each other.

Remember as Ryan Holiday said in his book, “ego is the enemy.”

Please manage your individual ego and help us to solve the problem of access to housing and do not become the problem.

Let me be clear that the Ministry will give you every reasonable and lawful support but we will not hesitate this time to recommend to Mr. President, the removal of any nominee who falls short of the standards, or becomes a problem.

In other words, your tenure of 4 years on the Board and 5 years on the Management Committee are not guaranteed but subject to performance.

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