Zubaida Umar: Savvy, innovative, result-driven professional, an abusite with a strategic edge at FMBN
Zubaida Umar, Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Services, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) possesses a rich mix of professional experience in public policy design and implementation, public-private partnership management and international finance.
With a proven track record of strong leadership, innovation and business growth, Mrs. Umar, a graduate of world class universities including the famous Robert Gordon University Business School, Scotland, where she obtained an MSc in International trade, also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. She is an active member of both the Chartered Institute of Bankers and the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria.
Zubaida has over twenty years of financial advisory, as well as strategy development and project management experiences in domestic debt management and mortgage banking in Nigeria.
Until her appointment as Executive Director, Mrs. Umar was General Manager, Zonal Coordination with the Bank where she was instrumental in implementing various reform processes the Bank had initiated. She has helped develop expertise in major areas of ICT implementation, policy formulation and risk management. In that capacity, she had also overseen the execution of high value projects ranging from technological and process solutions, design of organizational architecture all aimed at instituting best practice protocols in the Bank.
Mrs. Umar has held other top management positions with the Bank. She was at various times Group Head, Corporate Communications, Head, Policy and Strategy as well as Head of Organizational resourcing of FMBN.
Through various cutting-edge initiatives, she has successfully spearheaded the attainment and surpassing of NHF targets in various states of the federation. She is currently among those leading the charge for a new national housing policy that will cater for all contributors to the scheme in the long run.
Before Joining FMBN, Mrs. Umar had worked with the Debt Management Office (DMO) between 2001 and 2006 where she was an integral part of a team that successfully monitored and managed both domestic and foreign debts of Nigeria.
She has attended various courses in leadership, advanced management and executive management, including securitisation and Housing Finance Programs at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, USA; Communication/Project Management in Nevada, USA; Affordable housing programs in Malaysia; Mortgage banking strategies in Singapore and several other courses in the United Kingdom. Mrs. Umar brings a broad Intellectual experience and knowledge to bear in the services the Bank offers to its clients.
In this brief chat with The Guardian in her response to being recognized as one of the “Most distinguished Abusites With Impatful Contribution to Nigeria’s Economic Growth”, Mrs. Zubaida Umar spoke about her personal background, career trajectory, amongst other pertinent issues.
Personal background and inspiration to study at ABU
I am Zubaida Umar from Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, I attended my primary and secondary schools in Kaduna state. I am a graduate of Business Administration and also studied international Trade. My husband is an astute Petroleum Lawyer while my father is a retired Military officer and an elder statesman and my ever loving mother is a retired Matron.
One of the major reasons that inspired me to study at ABU was the fact that, ABU is known for its historical antecedents of producing excellent graduates through highly competent and experienced lecturers and I am quite happy to be one of the products of the institution.
ABU experience and influence on career success
My experience at ABU was exciting and unique. Beyond the quality education I received, I had the opportunity of meeting people from diverse backgrounds across the country. Some of those people I call family now. I had the opportunity to know the existence of numerous courses and my interactions with diverse students changed my perception of life.
As for my day-to-day activities, almost everywhere I go to, every office I visit for official or personal objectives, I almost always find an ABU student that I will either recognize or will recognize me and would make my objective easily achieved. It is like ABU students have the culture to always assist each other. I am still in touch with quite a number of my lecturers and they still assist whenever they can.
Nigeria’s mortgage banking industry, challenges and FMBN’s recipes.
The mortgage banking sector in Nigeria has basic problems which include macroeconomic variables, housing affordability index, collateral and title perfection challenges, access to long-term funding from the capital market, cost of fund, cost of the mortgage, amongst others.
However, for us at FMBN, our strategy in tackling the sector’s basic problem falls around the following: firstly, improving our process value chain for efficiency and effectiveness. We expect that this process will address the cost of mortgages and other related factors. Secondly, Strategic partnership with our key stakeholders especially State Governments to tackle the issue of perfection of titles. Thirdly, recapitalization of the bank to enable more funding and impact on the nation.
Most pleasant, trying moment in ABU
My most pleasant moment in ABU was the day of my graduation, I was so filled with joy that I have passed through and experienced a great school like ABU. My most trying moment must be the strike period. We were on strike for almost two years.
ABU and expectations to improve, sustain its leading role in Nigeria’s education system
I will like to see ABU competing with other world Ivy League universities in terms of academic excellence and student enrolment. I will also like ABU to be a front runner in terms of Research and Documentation in many aspects, especially affordable housing Technology.
Qualities required for a young entrepreneur to make it to the top
For a young entrepreneur to make it in Nigeria, he or she will need vocational and skills acquisition training. They need to be self-motivated and financially disciplined. Technological advancement is also key, the person must be open-minded and innovative because opportunities are available everywhere you just need to identify and take advantage of them. Of course, this is without discounting the need for sincerity, trustworthiness and sense of purpose in all they do.