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Bank’s Partnership With Developers To Boost Housing Delivery

The current huge housing deficit in Nigeria is worrisome. As at 2012, experts estimated the deficit to be at a minimum of 17 million units and recently raised an alarm that the figure could be up to 20 million units if a proper investigation of the state of affairs in the sector is undertaken. Worse still, experts say the majority of Nigerians live in blighted areas that are unfit for human habitation.
It is against this background that the organisers of the Abuja Housing Show and Abuja Housing Awards held the 12th edition of both programmes recently to raise awareness on the challenges confronting the sector and to also recognise organisations that have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the housing sector in recent years.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was at the event together with other senior government officials, decried the current situation which effectively enables only one per cent of the Nigerian population access mortgage facilities, saying it is extremely low relative to a country like the United Kingdom with 77 percent.

Fashola expressed concern that the deficit is apparent both on the supply and demand sides. According to him, it is not just that the housing situation is grossly inadequate to satisfy the needs of the population, access to a mortgage is also inadequate. The minister noted that financial institutions have allocated barely one per cent of their loan portfolios to housing and about 11 percent to construction in the last 30 years.

Nonetheless, a financial institution that bucked this trend was given due recognition at the awards ceremony to the delight of the audience. Sterling Bank Plc, which emerged as the Housing Friendly Commercial Bank of the Year, is one financial institution that has played a significant role in the housing sector by adopting an innovative model that takes adequate care of the demand and supply sides.

Indeed, Sterling Bank won the award as a result of its remarkable impact on housing delivery in Nigeria’s housing sector. The bank has established a firm footing in the housing sector by wholly and partly financing some landmark real estates in the country.

Some of the housing estates include the part-financing of Crown Court Mabushi in Abuja for Crown Realities Plc. The project comprises 72 units of three-bedroom flats, 18 units of four-bedroom semi-detached houses and 16 units of detached four-bedroom houses.

Prior to this, Sterling Bank had part-financed the prestigious Crown Estate in Lekki, located on a 41.7 hectares gated private estate along the Lagos-Epe Expressway in 2000.The bank has also wholly financed another residential estate for Crown Court in Durumi, Abuja which was inaugurated recently by the Minister of the FCT, Mr. Mohammed Bello.

Managing Director and Chief Executive, Crown Realities Plc, Mr. Darl Uzu, commended Sterling Bank for stepping in to provide critical financing for development projects in the country, particularly in a period of recession.

Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Banking of Sterling Bank, Mr. Lanre Adesanya described the bank’s partnership with Crown Realities as a huge success. He said the real estate development company was tested and found to be well-managed, prudent and cost-efficient. He said the partnership is a success story for Sterling Bank, adding that the bank is willing to do more for whosoever is willing to do what Crown Realities has done.

Group Head, Non-Interest Banking Group of Sterling Bank, Mr. Basheer Oshodi noted that apart from Housing Friendly Award, Sterling Bank also won a similar award tagged “The European-Islamic Bank of the year Africa in 2016” in London which was organised by a UK based magazine, The European. He said the awards were won in recognition of the giant strides also being taken by the Non-Interest Banking Group in Nigeria’s housing sector.

Oshodi said the model of engagement created by the NIB group enhanced the ability of many Nigerians to own houses under a flexible mode of payment, adding that the NIB group has done so much in making affordable housing available to Nigerians.

“We have developed an innovative method of home ownership for Sterling Bank customers. The model gives an opportunity to the buyer to own a house without the stress of bulk payment. Where the house is already built, a prospective homeowner simply makes equity contribution and is booked for future ownership. Even if there is no house on the ground and the customer signifies an intention to access a mortgage, the next step will be to start contributing equity,” Oshodi said.

There is no doubt that Sterling Bank is making significant contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria’s beleaguered housing sector. Although it may represent a drop in the ocean, the giant strides of Sterling Bank in the housing sector would certainly play a role in ameliorating the situation. It is hoped that other corporate bodies would emulate Sterling Bank’s laudable effort and help to reduce the housing deficit so that every Nigerian will have access to decent housing.

Source: The Guardian

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Jemimah Abimbola

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