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Trapped funds: Union Homes’ depositors petition Reps

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Depositors of the defunct Union Homes Savings and Loans have petitioned the House of Representatives seeking help for the refund of their trapped funds in the mortgage bank.

In the petition dated February 8, 2018, the depositors said they had neither heard from Union Homes nor Aso Savings and Loans, which bought over the former since 2013.
The depositors said they had consistently appealed to Union Homes to refund their deposits to no avail, and appealed to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to order an investigation into the issue through the Committee on Public Petitions, and ensure that they get their funds as well as adequate compensation for the distress and trauma caused by the bank’s action.

Union Homes Savings and Loans, a subsidiary of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, was acquired by Aso Savings and Loans Plc after a bidding process.

The depositors, who also copied the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Central Bank of Nigeria, Public Complaints Commission, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, stated that they started saving with Union Homes in 2013 and within few years, had deposited funds running into several millions of naira.

The petition read in part, “Our distress began when Union Homes was subsequently purported to have been acquired by Aso Savings and Loans in 2015 under the auspices of the NDIC, albeit without recourse to the various depositors. We had reasonably expected that such an acquisition would naturally include assets and liabilities as far as the NDIC had given its nod of approval.

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“Much to our surprise and utter disappointment, our relationship as depositors with Union Homes became estranged as links of communication and access were severed, thereby technically separating us from our deposits without any tangible explanation. Unfortunately, some depositors have been very miserable and destitute after retirement and their entire life savings have been dubiously taken from them.”

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The Managing Director, Aso Savings and Loans, Mr. Ali Magashi, told our correspondent that his organisation was working to resolve the challenges.

He said, “Since we took over from the other management, we have been working to resolve these challenges, including the consolidation of Union Homes.

“The whole acquisition was based on the premise that the Central Bank of Nigeria was going to put some money in there and as the process started there was a change of baton; Lamido Sanusi left and Godwin Emefiele came in and since then, the whole process has not been completed.
“The Aso Board is working to resuscitate the two organisations, but we need the support of the CBN as a regulatory organisation, the contributors have to wait but for how long, I do not know. We have been on this process since I took over a year ago.”

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