Sterling Bank Pioneers Nationwide Education Loans

One of Africa’s fastest growing companies and Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, Sterling Bank, has solved the problem of investing for value in Nigeria’s education sector. The renowned financial services provider shared insights on practical and scalable solutions at a press conference held to discuss the topic around creating value that attracts large scale investments in Nigeria’s education sector. Speaking at the conference, Divisional Head for Growth at Sterling Bank, Obinna Ukachukwu, stated that to invest righltly in the education sector, one must ensure that the productivity output of skilled labour coming out of the specific education program being invested in must exceed the funding input over a period of time. According to Ukachukwu, the moment you begin to underfund a sector that is supposed to drive skill acquisition that impacts economic productivity and development, the outcome of that underfunding will be sub-optimal skill development and as a result, one would create a productivity deficit that will ripple across every other sector. He continued by saying that “if you want to guarantee the future of a community and nation at large, you have to educate your population in courses that lead to specific acquisition of skills that drive productivity and that are geared to endeavors that solve actual problems in the society, and not just the issuance of certificates. If you want education to work, you need to approach it in a way that ensures the education pays for itself. This is what the top institutions in the world’s top economies are doing –graduates of these institutions are creating value far greater than the systems that have produced them, and it is from the value created that endowments are created to fund the institutions and systems. The focus should be on the outcome of education beyond graduates and certificates, but economic output.” Ukachukwumentioned that Sterling’s model has been to focus innovation, partnerships, and investments in projects that generate sustainable value for the educated individual, the community and the nation. Speaking specifically, he mentioned Sterling’s ongoing partnership with Decagon which has successfully financed the training of over six hundred market-ready software engineers in less than twenty four months. The Divisional Head further gave examples of active innovations with Job Skillers, Nexford University, Founders Institute and more. He also mentioned that Sterling has been actively developing solutions and creating partnerships that bridge the funding gap for students and educators, while ensuring that the output of these programs are ready to be absorbed by companies sourcing talent with skills that are in demand in industry, and will translate into the creation of value for the business and the individual.

PUBLIC“We have working students at Sterling, schooling in the university, and paying for their education from their work allowances. We have also created a banker’s certificate course that trains applicants on banking as a skill, to create industry-ready applicants.” During the conference, he confirmed that Sterling has arguably the largest lending portfolio toStudents in Nigeria, with financing in excess of N 15 billion to the education value chain, anchored with our novel students loan propositions and training to upskill educators to ensure that as many of the needs of the industry are met across board. Fielding questions during the session, Ukachukwumentioned that the outcome of this model is a starting point for the bank to prepare to expand investment in the sector The bank has maintained and increased momentum in 2023 with her citation as Africa’s MostValuable Commercial Bank Brand for 2023 by the African Brand Magazine , in a poll conducted by GeoPoll and Kantar; two of the world’s leading brand research firms, a top three employer in Nigeria by LinkedIn in the social network’s annual Top 25 List, andmost recently, one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Africa by the prestigious Financial Times. Renowned for its now famous HEART of Sterling strategy;which focuses major investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors of the Nigerian economy, its irreverent brand voice and enviable talent management practices, the lender recently completed a major milestone towards the completion of its transformation into a financial holdings company with the relisting of its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).