THE STERLING BANK INTERVIEW: “It is time for both the private and public sector to take responsibility for the growth of the manufacturing sector and actively play their part”
Exclusive interview with Abubakar Suleiman –The Executive Director Finance & Strategy, Sterling Bank Plc – Sterling Bank is exhibiting at the upcoming Nigeria Manufacturing Expo in Lagos from 15-17 March.
Can we start with some background about Sterling Bank? There is a proud history here
Sterling Bank evolved from the nation’s pre-eminent investment banking institution (NAL Merchant Bank) to a full-fledged commercial bank. Sterling Bank is a result of NAL Bank’s merger with four other banks – Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank, Magnum Trust Bank, NBM Bank and Trust Bank of Africa during the 2006 consolidation of the Nigerian banking industry.
In furtherance of its growth strategy, the Bank consummated a business combination with Equitorial Trust Bank in 2011, positioning the enlarged entity to better benefit from the significant commercial opportunities in the evolving banking landscape and the Nigerian economy in general.
In a space of about 10 years, Sterling Bank has grown by over 600% in asset base and has also increased its market share from around 1% to over 3%.
What services offered by Sterling Bank are you most excited about at the moment?
Sterling Bank offers exciting products and services relevant to the retail, commercial and corporate market segments. Of these products, we are particularly excited about the SUPA account which is specially designed to cater to the unique financing needs of small, medium and micro businesses.
The product offers access to capacity building for start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs via the MSME academy. It also offers access to grants for business expansion, access to unsecured overdraft and term loans for asset(s) acquisition, project expansion and execution of awarded contracts. Working capital loans that do not require the MSMEs to provide tangible collateral, such as landed property are also available within this offering.
In addition to these, Sterling SUPA account offers credit cards for the owners/managers of MSMEs ranging from N500,000 to N1million to meet urgent financing needs. Free SMS & email alerts, free debit card (Verve debit cards only), mobile banking, internet banking, mobile payments are all features of the product.
We believe this product is unique and is a perfect fit for the differing needs of SMEs within the Nigerian economy, especially within the manufacturing sector.
We also have online payment solutions that can be customized to meet the distinct needs of our customers. These payments include salary and vendor payments amongst others.
There is also an opportunity for partnership with the Bank’s alternative finance business where companies can access structured funding at 10% to meet their unique needs.
Tell us more about your interests in Nigeria?
The Bank’s interest in the Nigerian economy is embedded in supporting economic growth and development on the back of sound financial intermediation and this, it has been doing successfully. With the current economic realities, Sterling Bank is positioned to support the Government’s drive for the diversification of the economy, particularly, growth of the real sector. Therefore, as Sterling Bank focuses on its retail penetration strategies, it concurrently ensures promotion of local content development. This is evident in our recent partnerships with a number of local manufacturers and we intend to support more of such businesses.
What particular interests does Sterling Bank have in the Nigerian manufacturing sector? Are you involved in particular manufacturing projects?
Sterling Bank has credit facilities that can serve the various subsectors within the manufacturing industry. We have supported several manufacturing comp