Money for Homes

NHF Mortgage Loans Can Work for Middle Classes – Rasheed Odewunmi, Midramo Consulting

Where else can you get 6% mortgage for 20 to 40 years in Nigeria? You don’t need collateral security to access an NHF loan.

 

How did you get into processing housing loans?

I trained as an accountant. I have always liked figures. I started my career with an accounting and audit firm called Olajide & Associates in 2004. They offer services such as auditing, taxation, financial management, and everything finance-related. In 2007, I moved from Olajide & Associates to Arivia.kom, a multinational IT company that specialises in the creation of national ID cards and the likes, as Finance and Admin Manager. I then left for HVAC Machinery in 2010. With all these organisations, I developed an appreciation of the importance of compliance in dealing with state and federal agencies such as Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). Organisations are often frustrated because they don’t get the results they need in time. You have to be very meticulous and also tenacious. Over time, I developed the skills in putting together and consistently following the paperwork. Bureaucracies like FMBN, which administers the National Housing Fund (NHF), have many rules and provisions. You get what you want in time only when you carefully study their requirements and stick to the guidelines. From my first employment, I have been responsible for processing registration and compliance with FMBN provisions for accessing the NHF. I discovered it is not so difficult to access NHF loans if you can study and stick to the rules. Many organisations make remittance into the NHF, but their staff are not able to access the 6% NHF loan.

Why do people find it difficult to access the NHF loan?

The problem has nothing to do with Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. Most times, Nigerians want a quick way to get things done, and that can’t work with the NHF. The NHF has a checklist. Everything about the NHF is open to the world. You can just go online and look at their checklist. You can’t get an NHF loan directly from the NHF. You get it through a primary mortgage bank. It’s all there on their website. Once you put up all the required documents, you will surely get the facility. With those two, you can access what you need from the NHF. The maximum you can get from the NHF is N15 million. Once you are 18 years old and you have contributed for a minimum of 6 months you can apply for NHF loans.

Are there other things about applying for the NHF loan that people do not know?

There’s nothing about the NHF that is not in their website. Everything you need to know about NHF is there for you to see. The NHF is the only financial institution in Nigeria that you can calculate what will be your repayment by going to their website when you want to get a loan. You will see a mortgage calculator feature on the site. You put in your age and your current salary and you will have what will be your monthly repayment. I emphasize that you have to be meticulous in studying and fulfilling the requirements. The effort is well worth it. Where else can you get 6% mortgage for 20 to 40 years in Nigeria? You don’t need collateral security to access an NHF loan. It’s the property you want to buy that stands as a security. So, it is easy as you don’t need to own the property before you access the loan. It is what you want to buy that stands as your collateral.

Do you think the reason most Nigerians can’t access the NHF loan is lack of information?

Yes, lack of information and impatience.

Impatience in what sense?

The process takes a maximum of six months for you to access the NHF loan. You have to contribute to the NHF funds for 6 months before you can apply for the NHF loan. From application to disbursement takes about another 6 months. Most organisations keep postponing registering with the NHF. Others register and fail to make regular remittance. There are people who actually remit and get to the point of applying, but fail to chase the paperwork and then give up.

So, what does your company do to facilitate that process?

What we do is educate organisations about the NHF. We let them to know what they should expect and we do a lot of hand holding, guiding them to meet the requirements. We have also built relationships over time with primary mortgage institutions and developers – we marry these together in unlocking NHF funding in good time. We work closely with our clients, telling them what to expect, the milestones and the documents required to move from one milestone to the other and eventually to having the NHF loan in their accounts. We share a checklist with the potential applicants when they hire us and we go through this checklist periodically, ensuring that there are no delays with compliance to access the NHF loan. Once you let people know that the process takes about 11 months, they are patient in following through.

NHF is trying their best these days to speed up the process, sometimes you even get a facility within four months. But to manage the clients’ expectation, we still tell them six months.

Can I get the NHF loan for a house worth 75million?

Well, yes. But note that the maximum you can apply for from NHF is 15 million.

What is the profile of people you help to process the NHF loan?

 We consult for people who work in industries such as banking and finance, oil and gas and telecommunications. We also work with small and mid-sized professional firms and businesses. Because they have relatively high incomes, they can apply for the maximum amount the NHF permits i.e. ₦15million. They have ability to pay back. Most of them live in cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt etc. where desirable property costs anything from ₦30million to 90million. We work with them to get 15million NHF loan at 6% which they can repay over 10 to 35 years, depending on their age. The NHF requires you to finish paying by the time you are 60 years old. We also help them process commercial loans at around 18.5% per annnum but just for four years. You can see that the 15million NHF loan at 6% over 20 to 35 years provides significant relief. A young graduate can enroll and get a house when he or she is 25 or 26 years old – they would have 35 years to pay back.

Can people borrow as a couple towards the same property?

Yes, people can borrow as a couple, and get 15 million each. But the title document must be in the name of Mr. XYZ and Mrs. XYZ. That is, the names of both the husband and the wife must be stated separately on the title document. So, a couple can jointly apply to buy the same property with the NHF loan so long their incomes can accommodate it. People can also apply for NHF loan to construct rather than buy houses.

 

Do you work with individuals or just with companies?

We help individuals process NHF loans but we prefer to work with organisations. Demonstrating that you have regular salary from a company is a key part of the conditions for applying and getting the NHF loan. Of course, self-employed people can also apply if they can demonstrate that they pay themsleves a regular salary from their enterprises or businesses. The FMBN is even keen on developing processes to bring in people who work in the informal sector to make them contribute to the NHF and get NHF loans. We often have cases where we help organisations register with the NHF and start remitting contributions for their staff because a member of staff spoke to us about helping him or her process the NHF loan.

Thank you. 

Midramo Consulting

6, Balarabe Musa Crescent,

Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

Tel: +234-703-907-9833 (office)

Tel: +234-815-045-9229 (mobile)

rasheed@midramo.com

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