SunTrust Bank Pushes CBN’s Financial Inclusion Boundary, Opens new Branch  

In its quest to provide financial service to micro, small and medium scale enterprises and pushes the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]’s financial inclusion boundary, SunTrust Bank Nigeria, a regional commercial bank has opened a new branch in Lagos.

The commercial bank disclosed that it is interested in onboarding informal businesses because they can galvanize the economy.

Ayo Babatunde, MD/ CEO, SunTrust Bank  said ,“The focus of the bank is actually on MSMEs which means we start from micro to small and medium scale enterprises, we believe that is the sector that is going to galvanize the economy,”

He explained further that, the decision to open a new branch at the Idumota Market was born out of the fact that the strategic location is in the centre of Lagos and is home to many excluded businesses.

“We are focusing on the market men and women because they are the most excluded from the financial sector. The MSMEs have some needs that they cannot get from other banks and so we are ready to let our customers bank on their terms. Whatever they need we are going to provide it for them,”

Omotayo Idowu, Business Development Manage, SunTrust Bank said Assessing the creditworthiness of small businesses is one of the many challenges faced by MSMEs when they want to access credit for expansion, the World Bank’s 2017 report disclosed.

The Washington-based financial institution, therefore, recommended the “use of alternative data in credit reporting” to enhance access to credit for MSMEs and individuals.

With headquarters in Lagos, SunTrust Bank is the “first full-fledged technology bank” and the first bank to receive a regional banking license from the CBN since 2001.

According to the commercial bank, it has a product; Smart 247 Account which offers doubles interest on savings with no account maintenance charges. This is as a result of the bank’s structure which is set up to completely impact lives, the bank revealed.

The CEO also disclosed that “in a normal Savings Account you get 3.86 percent of interest rate on the savings but we have raised that a little to say if you double your savings within a month, we can give you 7.77 percent savings rates.”

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As of 31 December 2018, SunTrust Bank had total assets of N43.967, 65.5 per cent compared to the N26.56 billion it reported in the corresponding period of 2017.

The bank maintains brick-and-mortar branches and ATM in Lagos, Abuja, Uyo, and Port-Harcourt, although 90 percent of the bank’s customers transact business on digital platforms, without visiting any physical branch.