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Sterling, BoI in N140b government empowerment programme

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The pilot phase of the N140 billion Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) pioneered by Sterling Bank Plc and Bank of Industry (BoI) would soon bring succour for market women, traders, artisans and farmers.

The programme is targeted at over 16 million beneficiaries to foster financial inclusion and economic activity at the micro level.

There are also indications that the appointment of Sterling Bank may have been informed by its commitment to serving this segment of the population through its Agent Banking scheme.

Agent banking is a process of providing limited scale banking and financial services to the underserved population through engaged agents under a valid agency agreement, rather than a teller/cashier.

Under the pilot phase, Sterling Bank would disburse loans ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 per beneficiary covering up to 15,000 beneficiaries, including market sellers and traders, artisans, enterprising youths and farmers.

Meanwhile, Sterling Bank said it has committed over N500 million to various activities under its Sterling Environmental Make-Over (STEM) initiative.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Yemi Adeola, said the move was part of the bank’s social responsibility initiative in the last five years.

The activities included partnership with agencies responsible for waste management in 14 states of the country, tree planting and the national cleaning exercise.

“STEM is an initiative which started eight years ago, and essentially covers all the programmes which Sterling Bank runs geared towards caring for our environment. So far, about half a billion naira has been invested in this initiative.

“When STEM started, the primary focus was the kitting of highway managers and sweepers in the employment of the Lagos State Waste Management Agency,” he said.

Sterling Bank was the first financial institution to flag-off the financial inclusion and Agent Banking initiative in 2014, at Makoko, a Lagos suburb.

The bank also currently runs a national Medium, Small, Micro Enterprise (MSME) Academy, where small business owners are equipped on how best to manage their business successfully.

According to the financial institution, the disbursement had already commenced, adding that the introduction of the mobile agent banking scheme using the BankOne solution provided by Appzone would facilitate easy disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries.

“We will also be leveraging on our agent network outreach, robust technology solution and the scalability of its operational scope,” the bank said in a statement.

“The fund is being provided by BoI and a collection account has been opened for BoI with the Bank. BoI, through selected aggregators, enumerates beneficiaries from pre-registered market or trade associations in selected locations across the nation based on set qualifying criteria.

“The list of successful beneficiaries is sent to the Bank and our agents will open accounts for them via our mobile agent banking application. A loan request is logged on the Credit Assessment system and successful requests are submitted to BoI for approval for disbursement.



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