The National Pension Commission has released the list of 34 mortgage lenders to commence the implementation of the mortgage scheme.

This was disclosed during a seminar by the Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria in Lagos on Friday with the theme, ‘Pension: An opportunity to own your own home, an x-ray of the new RSA plan on home ownership’.

It had earlier released guidelines in line with the provisions of Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA 2014).

The guidelines allow RSA holders to utilise part of their retirement savings as equity contributions for the purpose of securing residential mortgages.

According to the list, 34 of the lenders are in Lagos, eight in Abuja while others are in other parts country.

PenCom, under its mortgage guidelines, stated that the names of mortgage lenders that meet the eligibility criteria of its guidelines will be published on the commission’s website on a bi-annual basis or when any new licence is issued by the CBN.

At the event, PenCom and PenOp highlighted the requirements for Retirement Savings Account holders to access their equity contributions for the acquisition of residential mortgage.

While presenting the theme paper, the Head of Investment Department, PenCom, Ibrahim Kangiwa, said for a contributor under the Contributory Pension Scheme to be eligible to use his RSA balance for acquisition of residential mortgages, he must have contributed for five years (60 months) cumulative of employer and employee’s mandatory contributions.

He said the same thing was applicable to the contributors under the Micro Pension Plan, adding that married couples, who individually met the eligibility criteria, were also eligible.

On authorised limit for equity contribution that qualified a contributor, Kangiwa put the maximum allowed at 25 per cent of the RSA balance.

He said, “Where 25 per cent of RSA balance is more than equity contribution, the RSA holder can only access the amount equivalent to equity contribution required.

“Where 25 per cent is not sufficient for equity contribution, RSA holder may utilise Voluntary Contribution in line with the Voluntary Contribution guidelines.

“Where 25 per cent is not sufficient for equity contribution, Micro Pension contributor may utilise contingency portion in line with MP guidelines.

“Where 25 per cent is insufficient as equity contribution, RSA holder shall deposit the difference with the mortgage lender.”

Those exempted from the initiative, according to Kangiwa, included RSA holders that have less than three years to retirement; existing retirees on CPS; exempted persons under the PRA 2014 and RSA holders who do not have both employer and employee mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months.

He said that equity contribution was not for refinancing existing mortgage, outright purchase of property and purchase of land, and that the property must be for residential purpose only.

Kangiwa said the objective of the initiative was to provide housing for first-time home owners and improve the standard of living of RSA holders under the CPS by facilitating their ownership of residential homes during their working life.

The President, PenOp, Olumide Oyetan, emphasised the need for stakeholders to work together to ensure the successful implementation the guidelines.

Oyetan who is also the managing director of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, said the successful implementation of the initiative would improve people’s welfare and move the country forward.