As the world marks International Day of Charity, Sterling Bank Plc at the weekend unveiled Africa’s first free banking services for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) christened Sterling CARES, initiated to empower non-profit organisations across the country.
Unveiled in partnership with Sterling One Foundation and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), the bank disclosed that the new product would allow NGOs to operate their corporate accounts without transaction charges.
This was disclosed in a statement by Chief Executive Officer, Sterling One Foundation, Olapeju Ibekwe after the product was unveiled Friday, saying the only applicable charge on the account is for SMS notifications and that the International Day of Charity provides an excellent opportunity to publicly support the social impact and philanthropic activities of charitable instituitions in our clime via this fee-free solution.
Ibekwe said Sterling CARES “is open only to NGOs, legal entities operated for a social benefit. It is introduced to help them keep costs down at this challenging time when their work and support is needed now more than ever by people with a low socio-economic background.”
Ibekwe, thus, urged the NGOs in the country to take advantage of the novel Sterling CARES account to keep costs low.
According to her, the product is exclusive to nonprofit organisations who are the primary foot soldiers working to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for all. It is not open to religiously shaped institutions, cooperative societies, schools, and associations.
She said: “We recognise that nonprofits like us help lots of people who are struggling to make ends meet through donations and various interventions. However, funding is one of the leading challenges currently facing the NGOs.
She noted that alternative sources of income, charitable contributions, and funding for their various programs and services “are drying up, no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sterling CARES is a child of necessity introduced to support financing of the Sustainable Development Goals via fee-free banking for nonprofits.”
Olapeju added that account holders also get to benefit from the partnership with giving.ng, Africa’s foremost crowd-funding platform that offers free services and gives grants to fundraisers focused on driving social impact in the society.
Also speaking on the solution, the Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, Shina Atilola stressed that Sterling Bank has always prioritized enabling social impact in her business operations adding that the solution was bespoke to bridge the funding gap for non-profits while helping to deliver a customer-centric solution to this unique customer base. He outlined how Sterling Bank is empowering the NGOs by removing transaction fees and other charges so that they can focus on making a difference.
“With its launch, everyday banking transactions are now at no cost. The era of payment of bank charges by nonprofits is over! They can now bring their banking cost down and do more with the savings from account maintenance fees and transactions related charges.
“Additional benefits include access to a full bouquet of online banking services and a donation link on the website of nonprofits for receiving local and international transfers,” he added.
Quoted in the statement, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs, Mr. Oyebisi Oluseyi said the nonprofit membership body “is delighted to receive the news of the introduction of Sterling CARES and its benefits. We are delighted to receive the news of the introduction of Sterling CARES by Sterling Bank Plc in partnership with Sterling One Foundation.
“This novel product is a declaration of support by the Bank and Foundation for those committed to social impact work and the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria. It is indeed a landmark nonprofit banking product in our history and on the African continent that we know of.
“This will go a long way in further increasing both the social and economic impact of Nigerian nonprofits while contributing to the good work nonprofit organizations do across the country in the areas of environment, respect for human rights, and improve the welfare of the disadvantaged including freeing up more resources to scale nonprofit solutions.
“Once again, Sterling Bank and Sterling One Foundation have demonstrated commitment to helping the Nigerian nonprofit sector to thrive and strengthen their financial management processes at a time when COVID-19 has affected the sector’s operations.
The cost savings benefits from Sterling CARES will support nonprofits in playing their essential role of providing services to and representing the needs of poor and marginalized populations in rural and urban communities across the country,” the executive director said in his statement.