Home Business & Economy After committing N500m, Sterling Bank Plc is lead promoter of environmental sustainability

After committing N500m, Sterling Bank Plc is lead promoter of environmental sustainability

After committing N500m, Sterling Bank Plc is lead promoter of environmental sustainability

…Partners FG to end rice importation
COMFORT EKELEME, Asst Business Editor
Worried by the current poor state of the environment in the country, Sterling Bank Plc, the One Customer Bank has in the last five years committed over N500million to various activities under its Sterling Environmental Make-Over (STEM) social responsibility initiative.Coming from a merger of five banks, Sterling Bank has as part of its corporate strategy, also played leading roles in promoting the growth of the nation’s agricultural sector by investing heavily in agricultural projects in various communities across the country. These investment ranges from poultry to piggery and rice farming among others.


According to the bank
, STEM is an initiative which started eight years ago, and essentially covers all the programmes which Sterling Bank runs geared towards caring for the environment.When STEM started, the primary focus was the kitting of highway managers and sweepers in the employment of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). Asides Lagos, the bank extended this partnership to 14 other states in the country and has given 25,000 units of the uniforms to LAWMA on a yearly basis. Sterling Bank is a full service national commercial bank in Nigeria with asset base of above $4.9billion (N824billion) and shareholders’ funds in excess of $504m (N85billion).Interestingly, Shareholders of the bank, at its 55th Annual General Meeting (AGM) commended the Bank’s Board and Management for reporting a profitable performance for the year ended December 31, 2016, despite the harsh macro-economic environment that characterized the year under review.

Bank recorded a Profit After Tax of N5.2 billion on Gross Earnings of N111.4 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2016.
Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank, Mr. Yemi Adeola said that the activities of the bank under STEM include partnership with agencies responsible for waste management in 14 states of the country, tree planting and the national cleaning exercise.
According to him, the bank decided to collaborate with celebrities to connect with their audiences. ‘’Many of them have become inspirational figures to a lot of people”, adding that the partnership with Funke Akindele-Bello at the Oyingbo cleaning exercise was informed by her unique character and passion for promoting cleanliness and a sustainable environment as she has impacted several lives. “Getting her on board was very apt because she believes strongly in what we are doing and what we stand for.

“Beyond provision of uniforms, staff of the bank, as part of our employee volunteer programme, regularly participates in nationwide street cleaning efforts. Also, Sterling Bank has invested in tree planting to address the challenge of desertification in the country. We started our tree planting efforts in 2016 with Bauchi, Gombe and Plateau States. We intend to extend this to at least seven more states in 2017, with our goal being to lead the movement to promote environmental sustainability in the country,” he said.Beyond the support for the environment, Sterling Bank has equally played significant role in supporting the growth and development of the nation’s agricultural sector. This, the bank shareholders maintained should be emulated by other banks to ensure food security in the country. The bank currently has over 183 branches and cash centers, all promoting the growth of agriculture in the country.

It is worthy of note that one of the biggest rice mills in Nigeria, Labana Rice Mills situated in Kebbi State was financed by the bank in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to aid development of the community, job creation and national economic growth.
Agriculture, being the engine that stimulates economic processes when it comes to national development, industry watchers maintains that Sterling Bank’s partnership with the regulatory authority was a step in the right direction, targeted at supporting the federal government’s decision to end rice importation into the country.Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had disclosed that the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari will end the importation of rice in 2017.

Explaining the reason behind the policy, Ogbeh hinted that the country has enough internal production that could sustain home consumption and meet foreign exchange earnings that could guarantee diversification of the economy.Sterling Bank had noted that it would be known for support and collaboration, while maintaining that it would work to improve the lives of the people in the places where the bank operates e do business.To the Shareholders, Sterling Bank promised to strive for competitive returns without sacrificing sustainability, adding that the bank will compete to be the best but will not compromise the future.

Shareholders comment
A shareholder activist, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo said the bank has made remarkable mark on the BRT Project in Lagos State and other collaborative projects of the state. He however, maintained that the bank needs to be very aggressive in the area of branch network spread, which he argued would help the bank gain more market shares.According to him, the bank’s return on investment is average, but noted that the bank could do more, if it’s more visionary and focus on tapping several untapped advantages around in the banking Industry.He said, “Several communities are still under banked in Lagos State only and spreading the branch network to these areas would go a long way to boost the bank’s balance sheet and profit. The BRT project in Lagos State was good and same could be extended to major cities like Abuja and other big cities in Nigeria.

Also, President of the Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Shareholders (AARNS) Faruk Umar, commended the bank for being prudent and responsible, and lauded the bank for winning the Agric Bank of the Year Award from the Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA) recently.In line with its giant strides in investing across the agriculture value chain in the country, Sterling Bank in March entered into a partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to drive the export of agricultural products in the country. The move was also part of the bank’s support for the diversification programme of the federal government.Under the partnership with NEPC, Sterling Bank has powered the Information Communication Technology (ICT) laboratory of the South West Regional office of the council by providing 24-hour internet service for the staff and entrepreneurs exporting products outside the country.Speaking at the launch of the ICT laboratory in Lagos, the Bank’s Executive Director, Mr. Kayode Lawal said the partnership with NEPC will be sustained beyond the launch of the ICT laboratory.

He noted that agriculture and exports were closely related and that the Bank was working aggressively to drive agricultural and export initiatives in the country because they would help to create employment for the teeming population of the country.He said significant export of made in Nigeria goods was the only direction the country could take now because Nigeria is the largest economy as well as the largest crude oil exporter on the African continent, but was lagging behind in terms of export of other products.

About Sterling
The bank is the product of the merger of five banks and emerged one of the 25 institutions in the sector following the 2006 consolidation. Also, Sterling Bank emerged as one of the 14 cleared banks following the 2009 audit of the banking sector by the CBN.
At Sterling Bank, customers are number one priority and the bank value their feedback and ideas. Sterling Bank Plc “The One-Customer Bank” is a full service national commercial bank in Nigeria. Sterling Bank Plc, (formerly known as NAL Bank Plc) was the pioneer merchant bank in Nigeria, established on 25 November 1960 as a private limited liability company, and was converted to a public limited liability company in April 1992.Following the Indigenization Decree of 1972, the bank became a government owned institution.
From 1972 to 1992, Sterling Bank was managed in partnership with Grind Lays Bank Limited, Continental International Finance Company Illinois and American Express Bank Limited.In 1992, the Bank was partly privatized and listed as a public company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), while in 2000; the government sold its residual interest in the bank effectively making it a fully privatized institution.

In over 50 years of operations, Sterling Bank has evolved from the nation’s pre-eminent investment banking institution to a fully-fledged commercial bank; and completed a merger with five other banks – Indo-Nigeria Merchant Bank, Magnum Trust Bank, NBM Bank and Trust Bank of Africa, as part of the 2006 consolidation of the Nigerian banking industry, having the vision to be the financial institution of choice.In October 2011, the Bank had a business combination with Equitorial Trust Bank Limited to re-position itself to better compete in the market space. In compliance with the CBN guidelines on the review of the Universal Banking model, the Bank divested its interest from its four subsidiaries and one associate company on 30 December 2011.Sterling Bank Plc is engaged in commercial banking with emphasis on retail and consumer banking, trade services, corporate, investment and non-interest banking activities. It also provides wholesale banking services including the granting of loans and advances, letter of credit transactions, money market operations, electronic and mobile banking products and other banking activities.

Legal Form

Following the consolidation reforms introduced and driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2004, the Bank emerged from the consolidation of NAL Bank Plc, Indo-Nigerian Bank Limited, Magnum Trust Bank Plc, NBM Bank Limited and Trust Bank of Africa Limited. NAL Bank Plc as the surviving bank adopted a new name for the enlarged entity, ‘Sterling Bank Plc’. The enlarged Bank commenced post-merger business operations on 3 January 2006 and the Bank’s shares are currently quoted on The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). In October 2011, the Bank had a business combination with Equitorial Trust Bank Limited to re-position itself to better compete in the market space.
In compliance with the CBN guidelines on the review of the Universal Banking model, the Bank divested its interest from its four subsidiaries and one associate company on 30 December 2011. During the 2016 financial year, Sterling Bank Plc registered Sterling Investment Management Plc (the SPV) with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a public limited liability company limited by shares with authorized capital of N2,000,000 @ N1.00 per share. Total number of issued share capital is 500,000, With 499,999 shares held by Sterling Bank Plc and 1 share held by the Managing Director Mr. Yemi Adeola. The main objective of setting up the SPV is to raise or borrow money by the issue of bonds or other debt instruments; the approval of CBN was obtained. The SPV is a subsidiary and is consolidated in the financial statements of the Bank. The Bank and its subsidiary are collectively referred to as “the Group”.

Donations and Charity Gift

The Bank during the year ended 31 December 2016 donated a total sum of N212, 264,475 against N92, 106,000 at the end of 31 December 2015 to various charitable organizations in Nigeria and no donation was made to any political organization.
Details of Donation Amount (N’000)
Lagos State Waste Management Authority Corporate Social Responsibility 84,000; Ogun state Investors forum Sponsorship 35,000; Made in Nigeria Festival Sponsorship 13,700; Wesley University Donation 12,500; Nigerian Economic Summit Sponsorship 10,80; Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency Corporate Social Responsibility 8,166; Kwara State Environmental Protection Agency Corporate Social Responsibility 7,168; Abia State Environmental Protection Agency Corporate Social Responsibility 6,400; Entrepreneurship Competition Corporate Social Responsibility 6,000; Kaduna State Investors Forum Sponsorship 5,000; Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment Corporate Social Responsibility 4,000; LEAP Africa Chief Executive Officer’s forum Sponsorship 3,000; Oyo Waste Management Agency Corporate Social Responsibility 2,600; Clean Nigeria Waste Management Conference Sponsorship 2,300; Abuja Environmental Protection Board Corporate Social Responsibility 1,300; Refuse Management and Sanitation Board, Kano Corporate Social Responsibility 1,300; Osun State Waste Management Authority Corporate Social Responsibility 1,300; Rivers State Waste Management Agency Corporate Social Responsibility 1,300; Anambra State Waste Management Authority Corporate Social Responsibility 1,300; Girls Guild Concerns Corporate Social Responsibility 1,000; International Women Society Corporate Social Responsibility 1,000; Nigeria Manufacturing Expo Sponsorship 1,000; Indian Professional Forum Sponsorship 750; Stefanos Foundation IDP camp, Jos Corporate Social Responsibility 700.

Succession plan

Sterling Bank Plc has a Succession Planning Policy which was approved by the Board of Directors in 2009. Succession Planning is aligned to the bank’s overall organizational development strategy. In line with this policy, a unit was set-up in the Human Resource Management Group to implement, amongst others, a succession plan for the bank. Successors are nominated based on experience, skills and competencies through an automated process by current role holders in conjunction with the human resource management group. Development initiatives have also been put in place to accelerate successors’ readiness.

Whistle Blowing
The Bank is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability hence the need for an effective and efficient whistle blowing process as a key element of good corporate governance and risk management. Whistle blowing process is a mechanism by which suspected breaches of the Bank’s internal policies, processes, procedures and unethical activities by any stakeholder (staff, customers, suppliers and applicants) are reported for necessary actions. It ensures a sound, clean and high degree of integrity and transparency in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in our operations. The reputation of the Bank is of utmost importance and every staff of the Bank has a responsibility to protect the Bank from any persons or act that might jeopardize its reputation. Staffs are encouraged to speak up when faced with information that would help protect the Bank’s reputation. An essential attribute of the process is the guarantee of confidentiality and protection of the whistle blower’s identity and rights. It should be noted that the ultimate aim of this policy is to ensure efficient service to the customer, good corporate image and business continuity in an atmosphere compliant with best industry practice.The Bank has a Whistle Blowing channel via its website, dedicated telephone hotlines and e-mail address in compliance with the guidelines for whistle blowing for Banks and other Financial Institutions issued by the CBN .

Awards
The Banker Africa Award, Most Innovative Bank, Barbara AbikeEpperson, Certificate for Excellence in CSR, Global Banking & Finance Award, Non-interest Bank of the Year, Nigeria Technology Award, Best Bank Website of the Year, Nigerian Risk Award, HSE Award.Just last week, Sterling Bank won the Housing Friendly Commercial Bank of the Year Award for its remarkable impact on housing delivery in Nigeria’s housing sector.

Strategic Goals

Sterling Bank’s purpose as an institution is to “enrich lives” and believe that by involving the community in its growth, the bank can only grow bigger. The bank has said it would ensure that in its areas of operation, “we improve human capital and encourage economic development and sustainability. We have defined education and the environment as part of our corporate responsibility because we believe that: The key to human development in Nigeria is an enlightened population. Education reduces the susceptibility to poverty and other challenges which suppress growth a clean environment enable a healthy life.

Sterling Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Academy
The objectives of the Academy includes to train and mentor existing and emerging MSMEs to build viable business development plans , prepare and equip MSMEs towards accessing finance from both local and international financial donors , equip the MSMEs customers with entrepreneurial and managerial skills in order to better manage funds, maximize profit and improve asset quality.The Sterling Bank MSME Banking is a bespoke business proposition developed to suit the peculiar demands of businesses. The products range from business accounts (SUPA account), to business advisory service and several convenient banking channels, the bank is developing customized solutions to ensure that businesses stay ahead.

For a better society

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