By Echeburu Oby
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, has announced the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to obtain and install a core banking software application at the cost of N487.39 million from Messrs. Fintrak Software Solution.
Once operational, the banking system would be significant and be across-the-board, by helping the bank in creating an integrated technology-driven platform to activate its operations and would then tackle the several systemic challenges that it has had to deal with over the years due to the manual nature of its operations.
Most important on the list is the act of fixing the long-lasting inability of the bank to update, in real-time, subscribers’ monthly contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme. As manager of the NHF scheme, huge of funds covering 2.5 per cent of subscribers’ monthly salaries is used towards the delivery of affordable housing.
Basically, employers in the public and private sectors are expected to remove 2.5per cent of the monthly income of workers who are registered with the NHF scheme and remit it to the bank.
Complains from subscribers over the years have shown that many employers are devoted and swift in deducting the 2.5per cent of worker’s monthly salaries but lethargic and reluctant to remit it to the FMBN.
Some workers also complained, that after several years of working and been debited monthly from their salaries, it is heartbreaking to discover that only an insignificant amount had been credited to their National Housing Funds account, due to the fact that their employers failed to remit or remitted only a little to FMBN from the deducted amount. Also the inability to promptly access details and information on the status of subscriber’s accounts.
Once the software is fully functional, all of these complains will be history. The FinTrak subscriber management module of the application is precisely designed to fix them to ensure a smooth subscriber and customer understanding for all workers that contribute to the NHF Scheme.
This means the transparency between employers, the deductions from workers’ salaries and remittances to the FMBN will be more transparent to all stakeholders. NHF subscribers will have real-time alerts on all transactions on their NHF accounts and will be informed on the status of their accounts.
Another important issue that is dynamic to the operations of the bank is that the core banking system would help to amend, is the time it takes for subscribers to access credit from the bank and in the process improving the overall customer experience of NHF subscribers.
Before Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa-led administration of the bank resumed office, it took as much as twelve months or more before eligible NHF loan applications were fully processed, approved, and disbursed to candidates to enable them to purchase their homes. Most of the delays were basically caused by the manual process of documentations and the relationship with Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), which FMBN, operating as a wholesale back-end mortgage finance institution, uses as fronts to lend to NHF subscribers. All these systematic issues will be resolved with the FinTrak Credit Risk Management System, an integral component of the core banking system.
This implies faster mortgage loan application processing and disbursements as well as enhanced customer satisfaction and experience.
Moreover, the realization of a two-week turnaround time for processing mortgage loan applications would be an outstanding addition to the progress already made by the Dangiwa-led administration.
Above all, the act of the Federal Government’s approval and forthcoming deployment of the Core Banking Solution at the FMBN is significant. The nation’s zenith mortgage bank is set to have a world-class technology-driven system that would help improve its operations and ensure a smooth customer experience for all workers that contribute to the NHF Scheme. Which is a great increase for the provision of affordable housing delivery in the country.