A Credit Union for Nigerians in America is well overdue. A Credit Union is a financial institution owned and operated by its members for the purpose of promoting thrift, offering credit at low interest rates to lenders, and providing funding for community projects. Credit Unions in the United States of America are typically tax-exempt organizations and currently serve about 44% of the US population.
However, unlike our counterparts from Asia and South America , Nigerians in the Diaspora have not been able to leverage our numerical strength and high level of education to lay a strong financial foundation for the future. A NIDO Credit Union will enable Nigerians in the Diaspora better access to financial services tailor-made to suit our peculiar requirements. Such outfit is expected to help overcome problems encountered in dealing with foreign banks with little knowledge of our culture and distinct characteristics. The Credit Union will work in conjunction with selected Nigerian banks of high repute to offer real-time and expeditious services to members for financial needs both in the Diaspora and back home in Nigeria .
A Credit Union for Nigerians in the United States gives us a sense of belonging within the financial circle and also affords us several benefits including the following:-
1. Offers members the opportunity to own a financial institution from the start
2. Members receive special but competitive interest rates
3. Products are tailored to meet the peculiar needs of the Nigerian community, such mortgage, business loans, credit cards, car loans, student loans, and property development back home in Nigeria
4. Low money transfer fees to Nigeria
5. Nigerians undergoing undergraduate/post-graduate studies in various American universities are in their thousands. NIDO Credit Union provides secured channel for parents to remit money for fees and living expenses
6. Job opportunities for members
7. Easy credit/loan facilities for our teaming youths
8. Though Nigerian Americans are the most credentialed ethnic group by ratio in the US , we lag behind our Asian counterparts because of poor financial planning
9. We’re leaving a lasting legacy for the younger generation
Several factors support the viability and need for a Credit Union for Nigerians:-
Population: There is an estimated 3 million people of Nigerian descent living in the United States of America , counting from first to second generations.
Education: Recent US Census data show Nigerians in the United States as the most credentialed ethnic group by ratio.
Economy: A recent study by Rockefeller Foundation-Aspen Institute Diaspora Program (RAD) shows that the median income for Nigerian American households is higher than the American average of $50,000, leading to the following:
a) Money Remitted to Nigeria: Of over $21 billion remitted to Nigeria by her citizens in the Diaspora (see World Bank), over one-third came from the United States of America .
b) Money Transfer fees: Nigerians in USA (NID USA ) paid an estimate of $1 billion to transfer money back to Nigeria in 2014.
c) Interest Rates: NID USA paid estimated $9 Billion in 2014 for interest rates on cars, houses, and business.
d) Total Interests/Fees: NID USA pays estimated $10 billion yearly.
e) With competitive offerings through NIDO Credit Union, Nigerians in America can recapture a significant portion of the estimated $10 billion that goes on interest rates and other fees.
Govt Policy: The US Government encourages associations to establish credit unions—to diversify the banking system.
Location: Houston is the preferred location for the credit union for obvious reasons. The U.S. Department of State estimate places the Greater Houston area as having “the largest Nigerian expatriate population in the United States” while records from the City of Houston further show that, “With 150,000 to 250,000 residents in Houston, Nigerian-Americans comprise two percent of the city's population, the largest Nigerian American population in the U.S.” Moreover, as the Oil & Gas capital of the world, Houston is home to many foreign conglomerates doing business in Nigeria . The city also hosts the yearly Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) that draws thousands of attendees from the African country.
Locations outside Houston: The Credit Union services will be available to members outside Houston . The credit union will take off in a shared branching program so as to provide access to members at participating facilities in the different localities. The outfit will also offer ATM facilities which allow access to members throughout the country.
Modalities: The initial deposit required for opening an account is $25.00 with no penalty for low balance on individual accounts. Your deposits are referred to as shares.
Insurance: According to US National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), individual accounts are insured for up to $250,000 through the National Credit Union Fund. As an owner your money (which is referred as shares) are insured the same way bank deposits are insured by the FDIC. Joint Accounts are insured for up to $1,000,000.
Benefits To Other Stakeholders
Federal Government of Nigeria : Low Interest Rates through NIDO Credit Union can help with increase in net capital inflow into Nigeria . Citizens in the Diaspora will capitalize on low rates to remit more money to start businesses in Nigeria , invest and develop properties, and support families, etc. The NIDO Credit Union will also help to conserve foreign exchange as the need to transfer funds to students abroad is obviated through proper set-off inflow as against outflow of foreign exchange.
Participating Nigerian Banks: The NIDO Credit Union will lead to increased revenue from Money Transfer fees, turnover, and volume of clientele. Over $9 billion dollars was remitted by Nigerians in the Diaspora from America in 2014. This figure is expected to increase significantly due to improved access to bank facilities through NIDO credit union. Instead of foreign entities, such as Western Union and Money Gram, Nigerians in the Diaspora will be able to help build up foreign exchange with their Nigerian correspondence banks.
Launch: The Credit Union will be launched on Saturday, May 7, 2016 in Houston , the same week with the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).
Long Term Goal: The Credit Union is expected to transition to a full-fledged bank within 5 years.
A 501-c organization, NIDO is the umbrella body for all Nigerians in the Diaspora, with chapters across America, Europe, Asia, and Africa
Program Executive Committee
Dr. SKC Ogbonnia
Chief Ramon Agbuluaje
Dr. Dalhatu Umaru
Lady Bridget BB Akazie
Mr. Audu Ali
Hon. Henry Ihediwa
Princess Moradeun Ogunlana
Mr. Bayonle Arashi
Dr. William Vesse