While some state governments have found it difficult to keep their mortgage firms in business, the Ogun State Government has recapitalised Gateway Savings and Loans, a primary mortgage bank jointly owned by Gateway Savings and loans, with equity of 57 per cent and Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Ogun State Housing Corporation which both owned 43 per cent equity.
Interim Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Olakunle Salami, in an exclusive chat with Daily Independent, said the bank will continue to be grateful to the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who made the money available for the recapitalisation.
He, however, revealed that though the bank made efforts at securing investors, it couldn’t because it was only being careful not to incur the wrath of the Anti-money Laundering Act.
Salami, a member of the board of the bank before he was mandated by the board to be the Interim Managing Director, said the recapitalisation of the bank is a deliberate action towards repositioning the bank.
His words: “It was deliberate to reposition the bank and for us to secure the necessary recapitalisation before things get bad. Because of the time frame, we could not get serious investors because of the money laundering Act which we want to guide against. So, we advised the state government which is one of the three entities that own the bank to provide the funds while we get state license which is N2.5 billion and there after, in a space of two to five years we will get investors to uptake so that the bank can stand fully, while the government’s equities will reduce.
“With the license now, we believe that the state is enough market for us. The bulk of civil servants and indigenes of the state that do not have their own houses will take advantage of the bank to build their houses. We are targeting more customer base and with the recapitalization now, we can give loans for as long as 10 or 15 years. This will make it easier for our people to have their own homes with stress.”
Speaking on the reform, Salami said: “It is a good thing; we have seen the reform that the commercial banks have witnessed and things are better for them now than before. I am of the opinion that things will get better for the mortgage sector if the reform is completed. Now our commercial banks now go into big ticket transactions that they could not afford before. They are now into big projects that they could not afford before. When a bank has good capital, definitely they are meant to create risk assets.”
Going forward, he said , Gateway Savings will be on a sound footing and that in the next five years, the bank will have its presence in all parts of the state and become the preferred banks of the people of the state just as he thanked the state government for the gesture of keeping the bank in business.
Source : Independent