The Housing Development Advocacy Network has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria to give waivers to mortgage banks in the cash withdrawal limit policy.
The report titled “How CBN is underdeveloping the Nigerian mortgage sector” noted that appeals made to the CBN for a waiver of the policy and the request that primary mortgage banks’ withdrawals be treated as bank-to-bank transfers had been unsuccessful.
It said, “As of today, many mortgage banks can only pay out a maximum of N2,000.00 per customer daily, where the cash is even available. Microfinance banks, on the other hand, have been swiftly granted a waiver to have access to as much as N1,000,000 per withdrawal request and they are having a field day.
“Therefore, the assertion that weak corporate governance, bad loan assets, and lack of implementation of Enterprise Risk Management Framework in mortgage banks are entirely responsible for the jaundiced state of our mortgage banks, including the Federal Mortgage Bank cannot be further from the truth. A number of mortgage banks have such issues, but the greater evil is the one perpetrated by the CBN in this regard.”
According to the report, primary mortgage banks are simply treated as an afterthought by the institution.
“Judging by the level of attention, provisions, and policy direction by the CBN, in their grand scheme of things, even microfinance banks are ranked higher in their scale of preference. Policies, directives and general decisions are taken with them in mind first before sparing a thought several months/years later for mortgage banks.
“A more recent example is in the introduction of the recent cashless policy by the CBN with its attendant limits placed on individual and corporate withdrawals from commercial bank accounts. Given that mortgage banks do not receive cash directly from CBN and as such depend on commercial banks for their cash needs, one would have expected the CBN to have made policy provisions to exclude mortgage banks from the withdrawal limit with commercial banks.
“This is in view of the fact that they also have teeming customers whose cash needs need to be met, as well as other operational needs. What we have presently is a sad situation where mortgage banks can only withdraw N20,000.00 per day and N100,000.00 per week from their commercial bankers.”
“The CBN must develop a positive, supportive, and progressive outlook for the sector.”
In the same vein, a mortgage banker, Bukola Jegede, condemned the treatment of mortgage banks as commercial banks.
She said, “When you are placing the same limitations placed on commercial banks on mortgage banks, it will affect them in a big way. This will affect construction labourers because the majority do not have bank accounts.”