The Nigerian banking industry has welcomed a groundbreaking development with the launch of The Alternative Bank, a pioneering ethical bank that aims to revolutionize the way people view and experience banking. The bank, a subsidiary of Sterling Financial Holdings, debuted with a unique multi-city launch simultaneously taking place in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano, marking a historic moment in Nigeria’s financial landscape.
Hassan Yusuf, the Managing Director of The Alternative Bank, expressed the bank’s vision during the Lagos launch event, emphasizing that banking should be a platform for shared prosperity that benefits all stakeholders. He pointed out the fundamental difference in the bank’s approach by referring to their customers as partners. This reflects the bank’s commitment to a journey of wealth creation where profits are shared, and customers are provided with funds without incurring interest charges.
Garba Mohammed, the bank’s Executive Director, elaborated on the ethos of The Alternative Bank. He emphasized the institution’s commitment to creating wealth sustainably by doing things differently. The bank’s innovative approach to financial services includes a range of digital products designed to introduce more people into the formal financial services sector. These products include AlMall for e-commerce, AltInvest for ethical retail banking investments, AltPower for affordable renewable energy solutions, AlterDrive for new and pre-driving financing, and WasteBanc for monetizing recyclable waste.
In addition to these digital offerings, The Alternative Bank stands out by providing unique personalized financial consultations, tailored solutions, and one-on-one guidance to ensure that customers reach their financial goals. The bank’s zero-interest banking principle is aligned with sustainable practices, responsible investments, and financial decisions that contribute to positive social and environmental impacts.
The launch of The Alternative Bank also saw the introduction of an innovative retail investment product, the first AltCoin, which allows investors to preserve and grow their wealth through investments in gold.
The inception of The Alternative Bank dates back to 2014 when Sterling Bank was licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate non-interest banking services. Since then, the bank has steadily grown to become one of the largest ethical banks in Nigeria’s non-interest banking sector. With Sterling Financial Holdings’ recent transition to a full-fledged financial holding company, The Alternative Bank will now operate as a non-interest bank while Sterling Bank Limited continues to provide conventional banking services.
The establishment of The Alternative Bank represents a significant stride towards ethical and sustainable banking practices in Nigeria. As the bank paves the way for a new era of financial services, it promises to contribute to positive social and environmental change, further aligning itself with the global movement towards ethical banking.
In a related development, NOVA Merchant Bank, a fellow player in Nigeria’s financial sector, announced its intention to enter the commercial banking business, posing a challenge to established institutions like Access Bank and Zenith Bank. This strategic move was revealed at NOVA Merchant Bank’s 6th Annual General Meeting in Lagos, where approval was received from shareholders to commence the transition plan.
The launch of The Alternative Bank, along with NOVA Merchant Bank’s ambitious expansion plans, reflects the dynamic nature of Nigeria’s financial sector, offering both innovation and competition that stand to benefit consumers and the economy as a whole.