The First National Bank (FNB) Ghana Limited has pledged increased funding to mortgage services after a successful merger with the erstwhile the GHL Bank raised its balance sheet to GHc21 billion.
The Executive Head of Home Loans at the bank, Mr Kojo Addo-Kufuor, told the Graphic Business that the bigger balance sheet meant that more funding would now go into its mortgage portfolio to help prospective owners realise their dreams.
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Mr Addo-Kufuor was speaking to the paper after the opening of a virtual Property Developers Forum hosted by the bank.
The forum brought estate developers and allied service providers in the country together virtually to discuss pertinent issues affecting the industry.
The discussion centered on how the industry could survive the raging novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and emerge stronger.
Mr Addo-Kufuor, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the GHL prior to the merger, said the FNB Ghana had resolved to help address the housing needs of Ghanaians and would, therefore, not allow the pandemic to undermine that commitment.
“Housing is a universal need. ”
“People need shelter regardless of the situation they find themselves in.”
“So, whether Covid-19 or no Covid-19, the demands have not changed.”
“That is why keeping the relationship with developers and agents is a very important activity on our calendar every year,” he told estate developers and other industry stakeholders.
He said the bank would arrive at the exact amount of funding to dedicate to its mortgage portfolio after completing a review of applications received by the now consummated GHL Bank.
He said following the merger, the bank had introduced an enhanced home loans portfolio with a dedicated team and a robust platform to serve the increasing number of people “discovering the benefits of mortgages.”
The bank now controls about 40 per cent of the mortgage business in the country.
Interest on mortgage
When asked how the pandemic had impacted mortgage demand, he said demand was still active in spite of the ravaging nature of the disease on incomes and lives.
“People are now getting used to the idea of getting a mortgage to buy a home or build as the pain of saving up takes rather long.
“We saw more banks relooking their models to meet the demands as it was growing.” This has not changed even during the pandemic.”
“There is still the demand and we are ready to help as many more people realise that dream of home ownership,” Mr Addo-Kufuor said.
Official data put the housing deficit at 2.5 million units although many experts believe that lack of capacity, rather than availability of properties is to blame for the acute housing shortage.
He advised mortgage clients and prospective ones to prioritise speed and efficiency while servicing their obligations under the pandemic.
He said they must also insist on due diligence to help assure security.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Council of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Mr Samuel Amegayibor, has congratulated the bank on the successful acquisition and subsequent merger with the GHL Bank.
A statement from the bank said Mr Amegayibor expressed the association’s readiness to support the renewed entity to succeed.
It said he also congratulated the bank on successfully hosting the first virtual Property Developers Forum.
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“We were not sure of what to expect but this has been a great meeting overall.
“GREDA is behind you and the entire membership of GREDA will maintain ties with the First National Bank Ghana.”