Union Homes: We are Reorganising for Greater Efficiency

By Obinna Chima

Union Homes Savings and Loans Plc has assured its stakeholders that it is restructuring its operations for greater efficiency.
The company also said it was striving to improve its processes, manage its costs and also increase productivity, adding that its goal was to be a more effective organisation that provides valued services to its customers.
Therefore, the Managing Director, Union Homes, Mrs. Pearl Kanu, in a statement at the weekend refuted allegations by the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) which led to the industrial crisis in the organisation.
Some of the allegations against the company was that N26 billion was transferred from Union Homes to Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to recapitalise the Bank.
“The facts behind the recapitalisation of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc are public knowledge; it is on record that Union Bank’s current capitalisation is based on a 65 per cent holding by Union Global Partners Limited, a 20.04 per cent holding by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and a 14.96 per cent holding by a diverse group of shareholders,” Kanu added.
Continuing, Kanu said: “Union Homes Savings and Loans categorically states that the assertion that nearly 400 members of staff have been disengaged since October 2012 is false. In addition, the company affirms that it has continued to work to meet its obligations to its depositors, contrary to the claims of the group.
“The ASSBIFI Section has also issued several demands on the Company. One of such demands is that staff who have not been promoted for between four to ten years be promoted immediately. Union Homes maintains that promotion is an organisation’s prerogative and is not administered as a matter of course or based on duration of employee service.
“Union Homes further maintains that employee promotion is based on employee performance. A demand has also been made on the Company to credit staff pensions into individual staff Retirement Savings Accounts. The factual position is that Union Homes is presently waiting for the necessary Nigerian Pension Commission approval required to effect the disbursements and will do so once that approval is received.”
She therefore encouraged the striking workers to return to work and join in the efforts to build the institution.

Union Homes: NDIC Tasks Aso Savings On Take Over

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has urged the management of Aso Savings & Loans Plc to enthrone sound corporate governance in the take-over of Union Homes Savings and Loans (UHSL) Plc.

The managing director/chief executive of the NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, made this remark when the management of Aso Savings and Loans Plc visited him in Abuja.

This initiative, he said, would not only give all depositors and staff of the UHSL Plc a new lease of life but would also go a long way to promote public confidence in the banking system.

According to the NDIC CEO, the task before the management is to maintain the confidence reposed on them by their board, shareholders and the supervisory authorities by ensuring higher performance and quality service. Ibrahim enjoined the mortgage bank to embark on a process of effective communication of its turnaround plan with a view to promoting confidence and trust of its depositors.

He, therefore, advised them to establish a toll free help desk and other effective communication channels such as radio and television jingles and talk shows to reach out to existing and prospective customers in order to overcome potential risks of rumours which may trigger a run on both Aso Savings & Union Homes.

Responding, the Aso Savings and Loans Plc, managing director/CEO, Mr Hassan Musa Usman, expressed his appreciation to the corporation for its support in resolving the Union Homes problem. He assured the NDIC of full implementation of the recommendations proffered by the supervisory authorities that would ensure sound management of both institutions.

NSE places Union Homes’ shares on full suspension

The Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has placed the shares of Union Homes and Savings Plc on full suspension. By full suspension, stockbrokers are not permitted to execute any transaction on the shares of the company within the stipulated period.

This, according to a regulatory filing obtained by Vanguard, is pursuant to a March 10 2015 directive of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC and will enable Union Homes and the holders of its fully paid ordinary shares conclude the Scheme of Reorganization of Capital between them.

The suspension, according to the exchange took effect on Monday16 March and will be terminated on Friday, 20 March 2015, while normal trading resumes on the shares on Monday, 23 March 2015. Union Homes, a subsidiary company of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc is Nigeria’s leading mortgage finance institution. Since its inception in 1994, it has continued to excel in its operations in Nigeria’s housing sector.

It provides mortgage finance services, builds estates, funds estate developers and estate development, supports investors in housing schemes even at state government levels, and purchases houses and estates for resale to corporate and private customers within and outside Nigeria.

Union Homes: Investors spoil for war over divestment

Investors who put their life savings in Union Homes, a subsidiary of Union Bank, have raised the alarm that their savings in the mortgage company are no longer secured. Most of the investors who reacted to an earlier story in Daily Sun Newspaper about Aso Savings’ interest in Union Homes are unhappy that the company they invested in could not contact them to intimate them on the way the company is going.

One of the investors, Mr. John E. Okelue, wrote Daily Sun Newspaper saying, “I invested my entire gratuity with the bank, after so many years of hard work. I had to invest with them because I had the belief that my money would be safe and secure there.

“Towards the end of last year (2013), I suspected that the bank may have become insolvent or drifting in that direction and decided to terminate my investment with them. To my greatest surprise, their responses have remained negative. Your recent publication in the Daily Sun of March 26 edition (page 48) appears to have rekindled some hope in me that someone is there fighting my cause,” Okelue said.

Another group led by Mr. Nzube Emeka complained that they have patronised the mortgage bank for over 11 years and when they noticed some plans by the mother company to divest, they tried to terminate their account with them but they have not helped out. “We are among the fixed deposit customers. Let the company educate us on how to get back our money.” Other customers who signed the memo to Daily Sun Newspaper include Ijeoma Onyeaka, Nzube Jonathan, Nonso Obioma and Udoma Anyaogu.

Following the divestment of Union Bank from Union Homes, a subsidiary of Union Bank Plc, Aso Savings & Loans Plc recently indicated interest to acquire Union Homes Savings and Loans Plc (UHSL).

The company disclosed this through a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that as part of Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) approved restructuring exercise, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (UBN) has decided to sell Union Homes.

The notice added that, ‘‘after a bidding process, Aso Savings was selected as the preferred bidder in October, 2013,’’ the PMI said.

The company stated that to achieve the set objective, it proceeded to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Union Bank under the supervision of CBN.

The company’s board also approved the bank to implement a Transaction Implementation Agreement (TIA) between Aso Savings, Union Homes Investment Nigeria Limited (UHNL), Union Homes Savings and Loans and Union Bank of Nigeria.

“The TIA was executed and submitted to CBN on December 31, 2013. UHNL is the special purpose vehicle through which ASO will acquire the UBN divested shares and recapitalise UHSL.”

Aso Savings noted that, “subsequent to the execution of the TIA, CBN has issued a ‘No Objection Letter’ permitting ASO to proceed with the transaction. This is required to enable ASO proceed with the signing of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) between ASO and UBN Plc.”

The bank last week said it would sell off all its non-banking subsidiaries by the end of 2014 to focus on core banking activities.

Meanwhile, following the increasing cost of decent accommodation in the country, the Federal Government is looking in the direction of finding the real reason citizens cannot afford decent accommodation in major cities.

In its efforts to increase support for affordable decent housing for Nigerians, the Ministry of Finance, which is reviewing Federal Government projects in 2013, said the inauguration of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) on January 16, 2014 was to facilitate decent and affordable housing for the citizenry.

The ministry said it reviewed the country’s housing policy with a view to finding ways of stemming the acute shortage of decent accommodation and reviving the housing sector.

It said the new mortgage company would enhance the provision of more houses at affordable prices nationwide, adding that NMRC was established to reinvigorate the housing and construction sector.

“NMRC will help increase liquidity in the housing sector, provide secondary market for mortgages and thereby increase the number of people able to purchase or build homes at affordable price in the country,” it said.

The report said that 14 pilot states have been earmarked for the programme, adding that state governors have agreed to provide and fast track land titles, foreclosure arrangements and service plots.