The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted Sterling Bank Plc an operating licence to commence operations on the Islamic banking scheme. With this development, Sterling Bank, according to its Group Head, Non-Interest Banking, Dr. Basheer Oshodi, has emerged the pioneer national commercial bank to fully explore the non-interest banking space as an effective means towards achieving wholesome financial inclusion in the country.
The bank had in the last two years, invested in human and material resources to justify its clamor for this specialized banking service and earlier obtained an approval-in-principle from the apex bank.
Oshodi explained that the bank has already developed a bouquet of specialized banking products to meet a wide range of customer needs and expectations, including transactional accounts, savings and investment account options involving profit sharing, partnership contracts, trading and lease contracts.
Furthermore, the bank explained that it had assembled a crop of seasoned professionals to drive the process, to ensure that it maintained its pride of place in this specialized area of banking services.
His words: “Given our understanding of the need to address a huge market of adult Nigerians, presently excluded from access to formal banking services and support, Sterling Bank started looking at this specialized market about two years ago and embarked on an in-depth research to stay ahead of competition in servicing customers in a manner that positively exceed their expectations with resultant delight.
“It is our belief at Sterling Bank that non-interest banking can seriously contribute to wealth creation in the country, while in the same breath, reduce poverty and unemployment”.
He added that ‘the bank would acquire and deploy a different information technology (IT) base and segregate the Non-Interest Banking customers’ accounts from those of regular banking customers, a requisite condition for proper non-interest banking service, which the financial institution is poised to render to customers with its operational base.