Consultant urges FG to direct commercial banks to create mortgage products

A real estate consultant, Mr Kingsley Theophilus, has urged the Federal Government to direct banks to create more consumer-friendly mortgage products to facilitate housing development and financing in the country.

Theophilus, Chairman, African Shelter Support and Empowerment Initiative (ASSEI), gave the advice on Friday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that commercial banks could assist in revamping the nation’s mortgage system, saying that there were some mortgage services the banks could offer.

He noted that commercial banks needed to play more active roles in the mortgage system, adding that normally, the banks were strategically positioned to revamp the mortgage market.

According to him, commercial banks have potential to financially assist in the nation’s housing development to save the collapse of building construction industry.

“Commercial banks need to start offering mortgage services and products instead of other loans being disguised as mortgage,” he said.

Theophilus said that commercial banks should be more proactive in discovering and rendering services that would boost the mortgage system.

“Some customers deposite money for over 10 to 15 years in the bank without withdrawal; if the banks want to assist in housing development, they can create mortgage facilitated through that pull of funds.

“The banks can build houses for the public which will be payable using the mortgage facilities available to them.

“If more people can afford homes through sound mortgage services, it will improve the gross domestic products and have positive effect on the economy,” he said.

The (ASSEI) chairman said that commercial banks should not use specialisation as an excuse to run away from their responsibilities.

He said that commercial banks should serve as one-stop shop for all financial activities because of its proximity to people.

“A bank claiming to be a commercial bank and not a mortgage bank is only giving excuses. It is the desire to maximise profit that prevents commercial banks from playing active role in the mortgage market.

“Commercial banks can provide full mortgage services to the public if they are determined to do so.

“You cannot expect persons living in rural areas like Ijebu Ode to move far looking for a mortgage-based banks when a commercial bank is next door to him.

“Commercial banks are better equipped to provide mortgage services to people, no matter where one lives, because of the branch network of the banks,” he said. (NAN)