Monday 16th January, 2017
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Sterling Bank partners with BOI in N140bn GEEP Programme

Sterling Bank partners with BOI in N140bn GEEP Programme

As small and medium enterprises (SME) operators look for­ward for some relief in 2017, Sterling Bank Plc has assured that it will do all with­in its power to encourage them because of their strategic im­portance in the national econ­omy.
 
The bank which recently en­tered into partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI) for the pilot phase of the N140 billion Government Enterprise Em­powerment Program (GEEP), said micro business owners such as market women, trad­ers, artisans and farmers need all the encouragement they can get now especially coming from a very difficult year in 2016.
 
The programme is targeted at over 16 million beneficiaries to foster financial inclusion and economic activity at the micro level and there are indications that the appointment of the bank may have been informed by its commitment in serving this segment of the population via 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. It is the owner of an outlet who conducts banking transactions on behalf of a bank.
 
Under the pilot phase, Sterling Bank would disburse loans ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 per beneficiary covering up to 15,000 bene­ficiaries. Target beneficiaries include market women and traders, artisans, enterprising youths and farmers.
 
It would be recalled that 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.
 
The bank in a statement made available to The AU­THORITY in Lagos con­firmed that disbursement has commenced, adding that the introduction of the mobile agent banking scheme using the BankOne solution provid­ed by Appzone would facilitate easy disbursement of the fund 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 added.
 
The bank explains how it works: “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. BOI will therefore advise with the list of benefi­ciaries approved to receive the loans based on set criteria and bear all financial liability as­sociated with the loans issued under this scheme”.

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