- Trouble in Nation’s Mortgage Banks Over Liquidity Squeeze
A Crisis looms in the nation’s financial system as lack of funds hits the Primary Mortgage Banking (PMB) segment.
It was learnt that the situation which has become critical for one of the mortgage banks, as it no longer honours depositors’ claims, may soon result in its collapse and affect the sub-sector. As each depositor is only insured to the tune of N500,000, the collapse of PMBs would spell disaster for their customers.
The development could undermine confidence in the operations of the banks, set the national housing policy backward and lead to the collapse of some of the mortgage institutions.
The critically ill mortgagee found itself in the situation because it ignored the liquidity ratios, as it invested all depositors’ funds in assets that are now not easily convertible.
The inability of about 15 mortgage companies to pay premium contributions in 2016 is an indication of operational challenges in the sub-sector.
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) affirmed that about 15 of the 35 PMBs did not pay the insurance premium as at December 2016, a situation that put the customers at higher risk.
The Managing Director of NDIC, Umaru Ibrahim said the commission’s capacity to sustain its efforts in ensuring that insured institutions are put on the part of sustainable growth and development depends largely on the premium contribution, which is an amount paid periodically to the insurer (NDIC) by the insured (mortgage banks) for covering their risk.
Frontline economist and Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Limited, Bismarck Rewane, said the challenge could be a corporate governance issue in one or two institutions, but not in the entire industry. According to him, the possibility of having one or two issues would be there, but as a quoted company, the regulators would handle matters right.
But Rewane said there might be crisis if more than 40 per cent of the operators could not pay their premium contributions to the deposit insurer. “It means they are not in business and the situation is no longer a challenge, but a crisis. It means some are just being there until the whole crisis manifests,” he said.
The Managing Director of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, described the failure of any deposit-taking institution, particularly a mortgage bank, to honour its obligations as partly a case of liquidity management, which boils down to corporate governance.
“Although the sub-sector is the weakest in the financial system, with total deposit liability that can easily be written off by the regulator, any shakeout will lead to losses in cash and perception.
“Every financial institution will become suspect if there is a distressed bank now. First, the sub-sector will be deserted. Second, even conventional banks will experience a cold response from customers. This is because not many know the differences. The mortgage refinancing company must be made to work more now,” he said.
He said that government’s policy of high interest rate on its risk-free securities at between 16 per cent and 18 per cent would not allow investments into the mortgage sub-sector, just as conventional banks would soon face the same effect.
NDIC spokesman, Hadi Birchi, reiterated that the commission’s mandate is to settle every depositor of failed financial institutions, first with the insured amount and second with as much as the assets of the company can provide.
While acknowledging that the commission is aware of the challenges in the mortgage banks and is currently looking for solutions, he said customers and other stakeholders should not panic.
Efforts to reach the spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okorafor, through text message and calls were not successful.
At the weekend, an industry source told The Guardian that the number of defaulters on the premium contributions had decreased to 13, but affirmed that most of their investments (understandably housing projects) did not bring about the estimated returns.
“The economy is harder now and some who are expected to buy the houses are not forthcoming. The houses are there, but we cannot get money since they are not taken up,” the source said.
The chief executive officer of the mortgagee told The Guardian that the situation was tough, but that the company was doing its best to turn things around.
“The condition of the economy is also compounding the matter. There is no money and people are not meeting up to their obligations to the bank. The assets are there but you cannot easily convert them now because of the recession.
“I must admit that the projections of the bank did not turn up well. Yes, the liquidity ratios were well overshot, but I think the calculation was that the investments will turn up,” the bank boss said.
Also, the situation, which started about three years ago, has become so serious that the company failed to honour some customers’ demand in the last one year.
As at third quarter of 2016, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) could only report the sub-sector’s first quarter (Q1) activities on deposits, loans and interest rates, an indication of failing corporate governance structure.
Even with incomplete disclosures, the NBS said the sub-sector, made up of 35 institutions, had N78.1 billion in loans and leases; domestic debts of N65.6 billion; and National Housing Fund contribution of N9.7 billion in its books as at Q1.
Econet Group and Mastercard To Collaborate on Fintech Solutions For Covid-19 Response in Africa
The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International (Cassava Fintech) and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.
TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognised as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa. Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform. Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.
The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security, that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.
Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.
Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind”.
“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.
Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.
Nestlé Health Science to Acquire Nuun
Nestlé Health Science and Nuun, a leader in functional hydration, have entered into an agreement in which Nestlé Health Science will acquire Nuun.
The acquisition complements Nestlé Health Science’s existing broad portfolio of active lifestyle nutrition brands with Nuun’s range of clean, low-sugar, effervescent tablets and powders.
“Every day, health-conscious consumers are becoming more aware of how functional hydration products can add to their overall well-being as well as support them during exercise by replacing the minerals that the body loses. That growing awareness is reflected in the steady growth of the category,” said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science. “Nuun is a leader in the fast-growing functional hydration category with its high-quality, clean, plant-based products. We look forward to combining our companies’ expertise to bring Nuun to more people around the world.”
Nuun was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2004, pioneering the separation of electrolyte replacement from carbohydrates. Its low-sugar electrolyte tablet revolutionized the sports beverage market. It now has a broad range of effervescent tablets and powders containing additional minerals and vitamins for energy, relaxation and overall well-being.
“Nestlé Health Science and Nuun share the same philosophy: nothing is more important than health and well-being,” said Kevin Rutherford, CEO of Nuun. “In joining Nestlé Health Science, Nuun will further its mission of ‘hydration that empowers the world to move more.’ The Nuun team has built an incredible business and now with the reach, expertise and capabilities of Nestlé, I’m confident that together we will grow, even more, making people and the planet healthier.”
The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021. Financial details are not being disclosed.
itel Partners Amatem and Drug-Aid Distributes Relief Materials In Fight Against Malaria
To commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day, itel recently partnered with Amatem Softgel, an anti-malaria drug in Nigeria, and Drug-Aid Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that provides medical drug supplies and support to low-income patients in Nigeria and across Africa.
A statement by itel explained that in tandem with the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, the three brands joined the global fight against malaria by donating treated mosquito nets, free medical tests, mosquito repellent cream and free anti-malaria drugs to over 1,500 households in Isale-Akoka Community, Bariga, Lagos state.
It explained that malaria is a prevalent disease in sub-Saharan Africa, and was responsible for thousands of deaths yearly, adding that as socially responsible organisations, itel, Amatem Softgel, and Drug-Aid Africa, “believe that they have a quota to contribute in ensuring a relatively healthier society.”
The Marketing Manager for West Africa and Nigeria, itel, Oke Umurhohwo, expressed commitment in bridging the gap in low-income communities through its ‘Love Always On CSR initiative.’
He added that the brand was partnering with Amatem Softgel and Drug Aid Africa to provide these communities, “with an even greater fighting chance against malaria is a part of our commitment to them.”
The General Manager, Elbe Pharma, Shivakumar, said: “Malaria is a life-threatening disease, but it is preventable and curable. We at Elbe continue to find a better way to combat this disease, support the vulnerable ones especially the young children. Hence, the introduction of this innovative anti-malaria brand AMATEM SOFTGEL and this CSR partnership.”
The Programme Officer, Drug-Aid Africa, Oluseyi Sanyaolu, said malaria has been ravaging the vulnerable in the society for years, saying, “it is the reasons why Drug-Aid Africa is dedicated to supporting those in indigent communities with medicines and medical supplies. Together, we can end this menace.”
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