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Move Back To Nigeria: No Regrets! Finance Exec Emmanuel Fatusin is Taking Risks, Utilizing Opportunities & Making a Difference!



Move Back to Nigeria is a new series on BellaNaija. The aim is to encourage young and not-so-young professionals in the diaspora who are trying to make the decision of whether to move back to Nigeria. In collaboration with the brilliant team at, we hope to bring you a weekly interview with individuals who have successfully made the leap. The idea is to share their successes and their challenges as they made the decision.

A lot of Nigerians in the diaspora have questions about making a change at home in Nigeria. Many suggest really good ideas on how to make things better; others would like to contribute to making a difference back home but are just not sure where to begin.

This week, we interview Emmanuel Fatusin, a UK trained Banking professional who moved back to Nigeria for reasons above and beyond the usual career-related plans. His life long passion and keen interest in politics and development has seen him take up a role in the somewhat burgeoning mortgage/housing industry in Nigeria. Here, he discusses his take on the housing sector in Nigeria and how his company’s mission involves addressing these issues and more. His incisive yet frank opinions certainly make for interesting reading. We hope you enjoy the interview.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m a primarily a banker but really a multi-dimensional Nigerian entrepreneur at heart. I say multi-dimensional because it is difficult to describe me in one word as there are many other facets to who I am and what I do, with my interests ranging from politics, to traveling (adventure/mountain hiking), fitness (Muay Thai-Kickboxing), music and very importantly, adventure photography.

Tell us about your educational history and why you left Nigeria.
I had my secondary education at King’s College Lagos and then left Nigeria afterwards for my A-levels. After which I attended City University, London for my Bachelors in Computing and then Queen Mary (University of London) for a Masters in e-Commerce Engineering. I left Nigeria purely for academic pursuits and I can confidently say that leaving Nigeria when I did has made a tremendous impact on who I am today.

Can you give us some background information regarding your professional life?
I have always had an entrepreneurial bent which started to manifest during my undergraduate days when I became quite involved in organizing events & other functions mainly for profit. A group of us did this for a while and then as undergrad days ended and my professional life started, my focus shifted accordingly.

My banking career started around the turn of the millennium in investment banking at Citi where I specialized in Operational Risk, Outsourcing and Cost Reduction. I spent 2 years there and left on a good note, as I was commended for my work by the Executives of the bank. I then moved on to KPMG, where I headed the Citi portfolio in Information Risk Management. I stayed on for about 4 & half years and got to manage the big investment banks such as Commerz bank (former DrKW), JP Morgan and such like, with my specialization being in Risk Advisory, Regulatory and Information Risk.

Whilst my career was growing from strength to strength, a part of me wanted to go back into investment banking and a perfect opportunity presented itself in form of a job at Santander. I did some research and found it an exciting opportunity as it was a Spanish bank with large operations in South America, a banking structure quite similar to Nigeria and so I moved there and joined the Credit Risk department.

After a few years there, I started seeking new challenges and then came Barclays Capital which was a very aggressive investment bank that appealed to me on many levels and so I joined the Strategic Development team as Project Manager focusing on Credit and Market Risk. It was around this period I started thinking seriously about moving back to Nigeria and started looking for viable opportunities in Nigeria, which also coincided with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s banking consolidation exercise. I subsequently realized that there was no risk culture in Nigeria per se and my expertise could be meaningful there. This made me seek further knowledge in the field and so I moved to The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) which at the time, was undergoing its well documented crisis. I was keen to closely observe how they would turn their fortunes around and so I joined RBS in the area of stress testing.  While still on the lookout for opportunities in Nigeria, I was eventually approached by a group of investors looking to set up a mortgage bank in Nigeria. Despite the role involving a massive pay cut, I was reassured by the fact that our views and aspirations were aligned which is very important to me. A major part of who I am lies in my passion for politics and development and I felt the housing industry in Nigeria is in desperate need of attention and a place I could contribute to its’ development, so I took on the role and that is what I currently do.

You mentioned your passion for politics and development. Is this what inspired your move back?
Somewhat but not entirely. Another reason was that after working in different big organizations, I wanted to work in a company where I was not just a number. Where my impact could be felt and I could build my own team and implement all I had learnt, without dealing with the massive red tape of big companies.

It’s always useful to know what one wants. So what does your current role entail?
I represent a group of investors interested in the acquisition and creation of mortgage banks in Africa, starting with Nigeria and  I am the Chief Risk Officer (Group Head, Enterprise Risk Management).  The mortgage industry in Nigeria can be classified as largely under-developed when compared with the developed markets. Our plan is to create a mortgage bank that stands out and impacts positively on the industry. As an ambition of mine is to try and make Nigeria a better place in any way I can, I want my current role to transcend that. There is a huge housing deficit today in Nigeria conservatively estimated at over 16 million units.  Our goal is to influence the housing market to create more affordable homes focusing mainly on the middle class and low-income earners. We would also provide mortgages enabling the average Nigerian to get on the property ladder.

Some of challenges with mortgages in Nigeria are the interest rates and tenures available. I have been involved in approaching international organizations to get their support in helping us alleviate these issues. My role also involves travelling to pitch our ideas to our future international partners. A key goal for us is to be the first mortgage bank in Nigeria to offer a single digit interest rate on mortgages and also the longest tenure. Whilst some might be skeptical about us achieving our goals, I believe every great achievement usually looks impossible initially and this is just one of them.

Can you give us an idea of what the renumeration for such a role will be?
My circumstances are a bit unique and do not reflect what generally obtains due to my position as a Group CRO and my 12year experience. Depending on the sector of banking and also on skill-sets and levels of experience, a General Manager should command an annual sum of N20million and above. Money should not be the only focus as housing, car allowances and things like equity options can significantly increase the value of the package.

 How are you finding the move so far? Any big lifestyle changes? Positives & Negatives?
There are quite a few positives. First, let me state that it’s good to be home, as you’re amongst your people and you don’t feel like a migrant although I also consider the UK to be my home. It is also useful that when one moves back home, you’re most times fortuitously placed in a somewhat ‘influential’ class bracket, which while maybe seeming shallow at first glance, is important to me because that’s how best one can make a difference in your immediate environment and to the society on a wider scale. I have been inspired and motivated by the amount of success stories back home especially with regards to enterprise and young people in middle to senior management. There are also a lot of business opportunities for people who are interested in being entrepreneurial.

The negatives for me are basically issues involving infrastructure, the system and the people. The infrastructural issues include things like erratic power supply, fundamental amenities and so on. You basically have to be the ‘government’ of your home, providing power, water, healthcare facilities and so on. There has been some progress in this regard particularly in Lagos State but there’s a whole lot more still to be done.  By the system, I am referring to the endemic corruption and lack of accountability which is so well-documented I will not go into it here.  Finally, the biggest issue for me is the people, especially knowing that if we re-orientate ourselves for the better, Nigeria will be an amazing place and the other issues such as the system and even the infrastructural challenges will be greatly improved. The existing mindset and so-called Nigerian factor are hugely responsible for our slow progress as a nation.

Having said all that, there is of course a massive difference in lifestyle  and  there are certain things I miss about the UK. For instance, as earlier stated, I enjoy working-out, mountain hiking etc and I cannot really indulge in these activities as easily and readily as I did back there. The point I want to make here is that people should come home with tempered expectations so they do not get disappointed or frustrated.

Nigeria really needs a lot of changes and not just with regards to running efficient organizations and so on, but in things that will transcend and flow into the social structure.

Interesting Perspective…Do you have any regrets moving back?
No, well at least none for now. I think it was the right move for me and also especially because of what I am involved in. I enjoy the fact that we are building this from the ground up and whilst it is not easy to do this (particularly in Nigeria), it is something that will make a difference in the life of the average Nigerian. Personally, being involved in this venture not only from a risk perspective, will totally change the financial services especially the mortgage industry in Nigeria is exciting & fulfilling. So definitely no regrets so far.

On a final note, do you have any words of wisdom for our readers and also those who may be considering moving back to Nigeria?
If you are considering a move back, it is always a good idea to come home more frequently and for longer stretches of time to observe proceedings in real time. People should also be aware that living in Nigeria is not about the glitz and glamour of Christmas time. Living and working full time in Nigeria is a totally different ball game and getting accustomed to this is key.

It is also important to understand that whilst you may not always get the kind of pay you seek, you can leverage on other things such as equity, accommodation, etc which can help to balance out your package.

Finally, once you have decided to make the move back and have found a good opportunity, just do it!

Thank you very much for your time and best wishes moving forward.

_____________________________________________________________________________________ is the fastest growing online community of Nigerian professionals living, studying and working in Diaspora. Our primary objective is to connect Nigerian professionals with various opportunities in Nigeria, ranging from recruitment drives to information & support regarding relocation processes and financial & tax advice. We also feature social interest topics such as what’s on, where to live, how-to survival tips and so on. We consistently engage with and feature young Nigerian professionals in our weekly interviews and also regularly publish social interest articles relevant to the general public. We welcome everyone to our online discussions & fora and also invite you to air your views & suggestions on topical and trending matters.’ For more information and further inquiries, please contact [email protected]

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  1. Emmanuel

    June 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Good Luck to you mate. Sorry I just left Nigeria last year for Calgary. Not coming back …not tomorrow, not in 15 yrs. Make me too enjoy the basic things of life. Suffer too much for naija.

    • ij

      June 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      LWTMB, in other words not in the foreseeable future , i cant say that i blame you my brother, good luck oh

    • Ubi

      June 24, 2013 at 12:58 am

      Hope the flood didn’t affect u? Calgary no easy too o bros…

  2. Lorenz

    June 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Nice interview.

  3. Ready

    June 21, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Yes! Solutions to the housing deficit. I know NOI was talking about the FG investing about N300-N600m in that sector, and the SEC is gearing up to introduce capacity-training in that area. Beyond this column providing advice for IJGB people, this can also be a career guide for young people in Nigeria who wanna either be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer…so many other areas exist where one can make money, and impact the country as well.
    I respect those who take pay cuts because of the bigger picture. Let’s hope this IPP roadshow charade yields great results so we can reduce many of our infrastructural problems. That can only attract even more people. Please keep this column going.

  4. Christy

    June 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I stopped reading after influential class. That my people sums up the problem that we have and any progress that is made will only be enjoyed by a select few of the population. The “progress” Fash is making in Lagos for example, we know where the majority of it is centered across. For sure for sure the average Nigerian will not get mortgages. They will still buld their houses from scratch for years with the labour of the money they can save or even steal. Lol. Many low paid support staff in the IB I work live in their own homes. Many, many of them. Shame catch me sef, I have started saving towards a mortgage. Will we ever have such a system where a cleaner will have access to a mortgage in Nigeria? That was meant as a rhetorical question. Laudable project Emmanuel, you already have a base of customers and good luck with serving the rich, that is only where money is coming from in Nigeria now. Everyone knows that. Not everyone who studied abroad comes from an influential class or will have the access to that class. Some got to study abroad from scholarships, many from the regular average Joe homes whose parents really laboured to send them to school abroad. So, as some may want to come back, if you don’t belong to the “influential” class, nothing for you and that is the truth. I know many who had to leave the UK because PSW expired and other immigration issues and they’ve not been able to do much because of the society of connection that we have in Nigeria. These are people who got their jobs here on merit, so it is not as if they are not good. That I believe is what is missing in these articles, but if you belong to their class, you can relate and you will find it useful and maybe inspiring. Before you book that one way ticket back, check your birth certificate again o, and confirm wetin the surname of your papa be and whom he knows. To ignore that crucial fact will be stupidity on epic proportions despite any noble intentions that you may have. Sorry my comment is long, but I wanted to open our eyes to the other side of the story, the part that is not been said at all or carefully ignored.

    • slice

      June 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      I think he meant being with the influential class will help him make a diffference. I think he’s right….to help the poor, u need money from the rich

    • canadian igbo

      June 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Amen, Amen and Amen to this sensible post. My dad is an engineer and my mom is a pharmacist “average joes” compared to the “big shots” that send their kidsto my uni . These kids all brag about going back home in the hopes that they won’t have to tiol to look for work. My parents have said it “you better stay there and gain all the medical experience you can because going back is like back tracking your knowledge in the medical field” and I respect them for their honesty. They have no government connections or big shot connections, they are simple people that used their education and sweat to send me here. So christy I am taking your words of wisdom LOL.

    • ms lala

      June 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      exactly…you move home better have your father is somebody…sad but true…and everday nigerian youths are running outside for masters….smh

    • Geebabe

      June 24, 2013 at 8:31 am

      You should have finished the article to get the whole picture.

  5. .....just saying

    June 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Can we please have moveback stories that are not finance related? Pleaaase

    • Christy

      June 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Because that is only where the money is and where you will be useful small. Politics has exploded the volume of money in Nigeria now and Finance is where it is booming and where all the investment and connections are. If you are an Engineer or bio scientisit or even a Doctor or a specialised architect you are sitting on a very long thing.

    • Tolu

      June 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      I have to agree with you. I stopped reading and just came straight to the comments once I read that it’s yet another finance related interview…

  6. Product of public Education

    June 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Very impressive.

  7. NikkyDiva

    June 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks Bellanaija, always looking forward to this post every Friday.I think i’ve read so much about career in finance, can you please interview people from science or medical background as i intend to move back but i’m lost at what opportunities that are available.

  8. bee

    June 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I love what the move back to Nigeria folks are doing. But most stories are mostly about guys who move to UK, and go back home. maybe its the stories i always come across, but even on their website too, its stories about folks moving back from UK, Can u please publish stories about folks moving back to Nigeria from USA, i live in the US and and totally compare what the US system offers with what i can get in Nigeria. First off, if i convert my Paycheck after tax, i don’t know if i can earn that in Nigeria, not just even about the paycheck but the leisure of driving with no bad roads, the feeling of knowing that i will get my retirement money when its time, and a whole lot. Please publish stories of folks moving back from the USA maybe that can serve as a motivating factor towards going back home

    • yeahisaidit

      June 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      how is moving back from the UK that much different from moving from the US? These articles are about the mindset and vision of the individuals. Focus on those elements, including how they have dealt with the changes in Nigeria rather than whether they moved from UK or US. Does UK not have the same roads, business environment and in fact, stronger currency than the US. If people earning GBP can take risks to move, what should stop someone earning USD which is of lower value than pounds. Perhaps you are just not cut out to be an entrepreneur if good roads and a 401k are what matters most to you.

    • lovelyn

      June 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      “If people earning GBP can take risks to move, what should stop someone earning USD which is of lower value than pounds” That statement my friend just proved your level of ignorance. Higher exchange rate does not prove higher income! UK pays peanuts compared to the US in similar job settings. I know some with several degrees that works in a Big bank (managerial position) and takes home less than 1300 pounds per month. Another friend in the US working in a bank in a lesser position makes almost double. Cost of living in England does not correlate with one’s income unless you are getting some type of government assistance etc. In the US, you can get by with your take home and still treat yourself. I have lived in both places, I speak from experience.
      So yes, Bella please include people moving from other countries and also jobs in medical fields, teaching, and others. Gracias!

    • slice

      June 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      i have to agree with lovelyn about Uk/US. People from UK move to the US quite often. I very rarely hear of the reverse. The U.S appears to much easier and even the weather tends to be better (depending on where you live). Also my understanding from friends in the U.K. is that the racial discrimination is on another level. And though this seems like a small issue, food in the U.S. is sooooo cheap and variety is excellent. sometimes when you order food in the U.K and they bring it, you want to keep checking the plate because surely they must be joking (their food can be small abeg)

  9. X-factor

    June 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Cool stuff!

  10. canadian igbo

    June 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    All i wanna know is what the medical field is like in Nigeria. hat are the prospects for a doctor or a registered nurse. My mom tells me there in nothing fgoing on in the medical field in 9j….I just wanna know the prospects.

    • lola

      June 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      There are no prospects my dear. No prospects o. They pay Rn’s and Doctors well in Canada. Please and please stay back in Canada. cos i know millions of health practitioners will give and arm and a leg to be where you are.

    • ij

      June 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      unless you want to offer a solid medical service like Ola Orekunrin of flying doctors good,lord knows we need more ingenious ideas like that , but if its to come and become an employee of some teaching hospital or clinic somewhere,biko better do like uhu glue and stay where you are

  11. Mz Socially Awkward...

    June 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    What I think would be a nice addition to these stories is more tangible encouragement from the ones who’ve made head-honcho status back in Nigeria towards the hopeful returnees who have the skill-set & qualifications but not the connections. In other words, it would be great if this MBTN series was a forum to put gestures out to attract new talent for these corporations & companies.

    Many Nigerians currently forced to retun home because of UK immigration restrictions have nobody in the upper social class to help them get certain introductions and it would be great to have these enlightened ones being able to hold the door open in some of these companies because they occupy key management positions.

    But BN is an entertainment website and not a recruitment agency, so I understand there are limits to the contents of these articles.

    • Deji

      June 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      go to you will find more information about jobs etc

  12. fofobaby

    June 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Finance Finance Finance This is good story, but BN let’s have people from other professionalism.

  13. nich

    June 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    those in the uk are mostly those going to come back…….those in america would not want…

    • lola

      June 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      kk. lol goodluck finding an employer that will sponsor your work visa. In america that is.

  14. Jaiyesimi

    June 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    While this story of his is fascinating, it is a shame in the sense that he mentioned politics. we all cant be politicians and he has no experience in politics to transfer back home. Nigeria politics is a whole pot of messed up soup and if you cant play God fatherism or get involved in roforofo fight abeg stick to business and with time things might pan out but if we look at the mortgage market for the masses, the low cost housing the lagos state government builds cost 30million and they give you a 1o yrs mortgage. so even government is struggling in this sector. but if they can influence the govt to be on their side, they can make tremendous progress which is highly needed.

  15. justmii

    June 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    he he he. @ the person asking if cleaner can have access to mortagage even in developed countries, they don’t just hand out mortgage to any and everyone. you have to show prove that you have the capability and means to make monthly payments so please lets not start trying to play saviour to the poor by lip service or just pure hating. Let a cleaner prove he/she has the means to make monthly payments then we can start talking.
    Nigerians already have bad habits of not making payments go and speak to people in PHCN, Lawma and co. So please!!! and as for the person that said is the UK different from the US. LMAO!!!! for real??? first no two countries are the same…and yes ask anyone that has been to both countries Americans roads are actually way bigger so if it is even the roads you want to start with there is a difference. I agree with those that are clamouring for other fields. Finance is not the only profession unless the message we are getting here is only consider moving home if you are in the finance field.

  16. mo

    June 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Bobola….When did you become Emmanuel??? Lol! I remember you mentioning you were thinking of moving back to Naija, didnt realise you’d gone already!! So i wont see you in Edmonton again? Choi…Well done, proud of you.

    • Anne-Funmi Fatusin

      February 25, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      @Mo – Bobola’s full name is – Emmanuel Bobola Fatusin. I should know because I am his Senior Sister and I have met you before, Mo!

  17. NNENNE

    June 22, 2013 at 4:20 am

    @just saying… You spoke my mind.

  18. Tim

    June 22, 2013 at 6:35 am

    who says you can’t move back to Nigeria as a healthcare worker! its not necessary to stick to healthcare, there are other things or business to venture into in Nigeria. Its all about your mindset.

  19. Ade

    June 22, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Jaiyesimi you just spoke my mind.politics is a way to steal and loot.thats exactly what he’s gunning for.the big bucks.forget the mortgage shit he was ranting lie

  20. Busy Sade

    June 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Hmmm in my humble opinion I think that you should all stay where you are, nigeria needs people to build it who are not afraid of Mosquitos and bad roads. And she certainly doesn’t need children of thieving politicians and civil servants who will come home and continue where their parents left off. Stay where you are enjoy what others labored to build for their own country I understand that not everyone makes things happen, some people were born to just watch.

  21. King James

    June 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    This is what blogging should be about, having a blog does not automatically translate to sniffing for what to gossip about successful people. Nice work Bellanaija

  22. Tolu

    June 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Great job guys on the back to Naija movement. Since i’ve been back, no major regrets since I can generate my own power lol!

  23. Dee-USA

    June 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I asked in the last post what options exist for journalists besides Red carpet and entertainment interviews/shows or radio presenters. Yes, it was specific to me, but it was another way of saying, we’d like to get other career fields. Unless the finance majors are the only ones returning home.

    I think many of us are unconvinced about the probability of getting a job on par with our experiences wherever we reside without the much talked about “connections” that are needed in Nigeria today. I don’t expect someone to talk about getting a job through a relative’s connection, but a little more context on how they got the jobs may be more persuasive.

  24. Nkem O.

    June 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    “As an ambition of mine is to try and make Nigeria a better place in ANY WAY I can…”. Now, that’s a line to follow for as many of us that truly want to contribute to development. Good luck to you Emmanuel, I’m glad we still have people like you, who are thinking positively to move this nation forward.

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