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 4 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. Beyond The Banking Hall (BBH) visited some of its branches and reports that although the banks is striving hard to offer good customers services which are hampered by inadequate parking spaces in some of their branches.
Sterling Bank main branch occupies the defunct National Bank plaza, Ilorin along Murtala Mohammed Way, Ilorin.
The location of the bank is at the centre point of commercial activities coupled with vehicular and human traffic which from all indication is giving the bank a very serious challenge in terms of space.
Because there is no adequate space, there is a ‘no parking’ order mounted by the police in front of the bank. For this, the customers are forced to park their vehicles within the limited space of the bank which could barely take 15 cars at once. Other customers have to park far away and trek close to 300 metres before they reach the banking hall.
The Bank has about six Automated Teller Machines positioned outside its gate. The Banking hall has about eight receiving and paying cashiers who work diligently to satisfy their customers. This makes their services effective.
The bank operates two 50KVA generators; this provides adequate power to make all their electronic gadgets work including the air-conditioner.
There are a few number of security operatives stationed at the gate to keep watch on the ATM machines transactions, control vehicles of staff and customers coming and going out of the bank.
Their toilets are clean and in good condition.
Sterling Bank, Osogbo is located at Onward area along Gbongan- Ibadan road. The bank has enough parking spaces for both the staff of the bank and their customers. When BBH visited the bank, the uniformed security personnel were seen positioned outside the bank welcoming customers politely into the bank. They also assisted the customers in opening the security door of the bank as well as those that have problems with the ATM machine. The security personnel also control the vehicular movement into the bank premise. Those inside also guide the customer of the bank to where they suppose to transact.
The ATM machine were functional and it was gathered that it dispense money with ease. When BBH visited the bank there was no queue at the machine.
Entering inside the banking hall, are the staff of the bank who were courteous and attentive to their customers. The members of staff look smart and neat no matter how stubborn customer wanted to prove, they answer and explain in a polite manner. They were ICT compliance. The banking hall is big and neat. The cleaners are very active that they clean the hall whenever they see any dirt.
Okpara Avenue: Sterling has only two branches in Enugu at Okpara Avenue and Market road.
The already busy Okpara Avenue in Enugu is acquiring busier status by the day. Like Ogui road, the avenue accommodates very many banks.
Today, new generation banks, including Sterling Bank are struggling to belong and also have a space along the highly reputed Okpara Avenue.
Because of its location, this branch of the Sterling Bank appears to be rubbing shoulders with the main branch of the First Bank in Enugu. The Sterling Bank is sandwiched by the First bank on the left and the Global network, GLO office complex on the right. Fidelity Bank and other commercial banks are situated almost directly opposite.
As for the environment, the branch enjoys a serene outlook and has an excellent and inviting corporate image that encourages customers to believe that the staff inside are engaged in serious business. This Sterling bank has a limited parking space that can accommodate about 12 cars at a time. Customers therefore, have cause to complain. Some of the bank customers and visitors resort to parking their cars in the premises of the First bank which is few meters away from the Sterling bank.
There is adequate security as the Enugu Police headquarters is located behind the bank. Again, the headquarters of the Central Bank, CBN is also located near there.. The bank’s internal security personnel appear to be alive to their responsibilities. They are watchful and vigilant, ushering in visitors in a manner that suggests that they are trained and in addition have proper orientation about their work.
Customers attest to the fact that the ATM service operates optimally. Also, the machines work 24 hours, making customers to have absolute pleasure and confidence in them.
Market road: Like all other banks operating within the precincts of Ogbete Main market in Enugu, Sterling bank has the prospects of good business. Apart from the market, other sources of patronage include high profile business outfits, transport companies, shops of various scales etc. The workers are always busy attending to customers, an indication that all is well for the new generation financial house.
The Bank’s environment is untidy. It is one disadvantage of being located close to market and motor parks. Dusts are spread all over the walls and this makes the environment unattractive. The bank has no parking space. The little space available is littered with power generating sets and only about five cars can be accommodated in the compound.
Parking space constitutes a big challenge to the bank. Of course most of the banks in the area contend with this challenge. This is capable of dissuading prospective customers with cars from opening accounts in the bank.
“We have no problem with the services,” said one female customer who had just used the machines in the presence of BBH crew.
Another customer said “The Automated machine works 24 hours non-stop. If you wake up in the night and decide to come and pick some cash, you are free”.
He further pointed out that the only snag is that the Bank has only one Automated Teller Machine, with the attendant congestion during rush hours.
However, what the bank lacks in both exterior and interior space, it makes up in well behaved staff. Workers in this bank’s branch do not hesitate to volunteer assistance to customers whenever they are in need.