Couples can use pension savings for joint mortgage loans – PenCom

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Married partners, who have Retirement Savings Accounts with Pension Fund Administrators, will be allowed to use their savings to apply for joint mortgage loans under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

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According to a report obtained by our correspondent from the National Pension Commission titled: ‘Accessing RSA via residential mortgage option’, the spouses must meet laid down requirements, and will start accessing the loans when the commission commences the implementation of the new guideline.

The commission stated in the report, “Spouses, who are RSA holders, shall be eligible to make a joint application subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements for accessing the residential mortgage.”

Findings revealed that the commission decided to allow couples to come together to make joint applications, because many workers were worried that they might not be able to meet the criteria in the mortgage guidelines to enable them to have access to their RSAs for mortgage loans.

Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 provides that a PFA may, subject to guidelines issued by PenCom, apply a percentage of pension fund assets in the RSA towards payment of equity contribution for payment of residential mortgage by a holder of the RSA.

The main objective of the section is to facilitate access by the RSA holders to residential mortgages as well as stimulate the housing/mortgage finance sector.

According to the commission, the proposed establishment of a mortgage guarantee company by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria will enable an RSA holder to obtain a mortgage loan based on a mortgage guarantee issued by the MGC and secured by a portion of the worker’s RSA balance.

Part of the criteria to be eligible are that the RSA holder must be in active employment, either as a salaried employee or self-employed person, and shall make the application in person and not by proxy.

The RSA holder must also have been contributing cumulatively for a minimum of 60 months (five years) prior to the application for mortgage guarantee.

It added that the RSA holder shall provide documentation required for securing the mortgage guarantee from the MGC and or other additional documentation as might be specified by the commission from time to time.

In a draft guideline on equity contribution for payment of residential mortgage by the commission, Section 3.4 states that a RSA holder that has utilised a portion of the RSA balance as equity contribution for residential mortgage may not be entitled to a lump sum payment at retirement.

The draft guideline also allows only contributors that have a minimum of N6m in their RSA to use part of it for mortgage loan, because Section 5.5 of the guidelines states that the mortgage loan amount shall be a minimum of N1.5m and a maximum of N50m.

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