October 4, 2023

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Sterling Bank is building the Heart of the Economy


Sterling Bank Plc has taken a lead in demonstrating what advancement entails in financial services by going beyond just providing finance but also provide useful resources to key sectors of the Nigerian economy. The Bank has been consistently committed to this mandate for close to a decade. Its latest focus on the HEART of the economy amplifies the Bank’s consistent pursuance of its mission which is “to deliver solutions that enhance stakeholders’ value”

H.E.A.R.T is an acronym for Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable  energy and Transportation. You will agree with me that these truly form the heart of any economy. The Bank recognizes that growing the Nigerian economy goes beyond the general but requires more specialized and complex financial services tailored towards making that visible impact that will lead to growth in other financial services outside of commercial banking. Enhancing technological capability and entrenching internal efficiency in the focused sectors have opened up attention to the deep professional insight inherent in Sterling Bank’s customer-centric business model.

The ONE CUSTOMER Bank was born from a merger of 5 investment Banks in 2006 which are Magnum Trust Bank, NAL Bank, Trust Bank of Africa, Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank and NBM Bank Limited. The Bank upon acquisition of Equitorial Trust Bank in 2012 lunched into full retail banking and has since then grown in customer base and branches.

The result yielding strategy the Bank has employed is investment in technology to make every single customer of the Bank have the desired attention and the treatment as if “he is the only customer” of the Bank. This is built around accessibility and convenience tailored towards meeting the needs of the economic stakeholders.

In the Health sector, the Bank is committed to equipment financing, provision of access to  medical technology such as Hospital Management systems to improve data collection, analysis and decision making, and Inventory Management system to keep track of stock. Others are to Increase technical capacity across the sector through Capacity Building/Trainings while encouraging innovative cost-effective business models through partnerships with other experts

Most striking in the Sterling Banks activities in the sector is the funding of unapproved schools to enable them upgrade their facilities to the needed standard for approval.

Sterling Bank’s One Education is a platform that is enriching lives in the educational sector by positively impacting all segments of the value chain.  Most striking in the Sterling Banks activities in the sector is the funding of unapproved schools to enable them upgrade their facilities to the needed standard for approval. By this, the Bank is consistently expanding qualitative learning space for young Nigerians. This is taken further with technology with the lunch of the Edu tablet preloaded with educational content relevant to different classes and age groups to enable continuous learning even during holidays. While the Bank continues to support parents in funding their children/wards education through different products, the parents are provided with  fora where they are taught how to optimize the potentials of their children/wards and how to manage their finances efficiently to achieve their goals/objectives

Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, Sterling Agricultural Input Scheme, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending and Sterling Tractor Acquisition Scheme are products created by the Bank to actualize their objective of providing adequate funding for the nation’s agricultural sector. The second objective regarding developing the agric sector is creating an efficient link through a platform where stakeholders can interact while providing industry focused information to boost output. The Agrix hub where agric and related information are provided is professionally serving this purpose. The other one and the latest is the Farmers Radio which currently air across 13 states in Northern Nigeria on the following stations: Progress Radio 97.3, Horizon FM 100.5, Supreme FM 96.1, Pyramid FM 103.5, Radio Nigeria Companion FM 104.5, Prime FM 101.5, Power FM 100.5. Each episode features a technical session from Agric experts to address trending issues, market prices of commodities from major markets in the North, health and lifestyle/ security information and a quiz session.

Sterling Bank’s has developed three approaches to lighting up Nigeria through the renewable energy which are financing, trading and partnerships. The Bank is working in partnership with other stakeholders by providing funding for large projects that provide electricity to communities and businesses. From the trading perspective, it is creating a platform that enables the sale of renewable energy solutions between electricity generators, distributors and users. Finally, Sterling Bank is creating partnerships to encourage the flow of foreign investments into the renewable energy space in order to bridge the service gaps which currently exist in market.

Transportation is another sector where Sterling Bank has taken the initiative lead. The Bank has established itself  as the reference bank in this sector with the heavy investment in the Lagos State modern transport system. Aside funding for the acquisition of the buses, the Bank has stepped further into initiating and funding an efficient card payment system. The overall objective of the Bank regarding the sector is to effect its  development into an efficient and viable sector and increase its contribution to the nation’s GDP

Sterling Bank’s approach to the SME sector support is one in tune with global recommendation. The Bank last month announced that it has set aside N20b for SME financing targeting 50,000 micro, small and medium business owners by mid-year 2020. The loan with maximum processing time of 48hrs has flexible interest rate. Other products available in the SME financing include Business support facility, asset financing, group lending and credit card. The Bank is recognizably working in partnership with government agencies and private organizations among whom are Enterprise Development Cent of the Pan Atlantic group, SMEDAN, LSETF and the Stallion Group.

The man on the steering seat is Abubakar Suleiman whose innovative leadership is leading the Bank rapidly on the upward trajectory with numerous awards on display. Abu as he is fondly called, holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Abuja and an M.Sc. in Major Programmes Management from the University of Oxford. He is also an alumnus of Arthur Andersen (KPMG Nigeria), Wharton School and INSEAD Business School in addition to executive education from Harvard and Saïd Business Schools.

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