Sterling Bank — how to get an SME business loan or financing

Sterling Bank provides the funding solutions needed to — start, expand or invest in your business.

See your finance options

Tell us how much you want to borrow and SukFin will find the best lenders in Nigeria for you.

Get Funding

Sterling Bank PLC is a full service commercial bank — with operations across Nigeria. Its head office, Sterling Towers, is located on Lagos Island.

The bank provides banking services to individuals, small businesses and large organizations.

Sterling is particularly strong when it comes to business and investment banking — with a growing retail presence.

Funding and types of business loans available through Sterling Bank

Business Support Facility

Get access to up to N5 million with Sterling’s business support facility. You do not require collateral, and the interest rates are attractive.

Asset Financing

With Sterling Bank’s asset finance facility — you can buy assets with ease. The payment options are flexible. A great way to quickly scale up your business operations.

Group Lending

Through this scheme, you can fund capital projects or lend to members of your association.

Credit Card

Sterling Bank can provide your business with a credit card, allowing you to spend beyond your limits — as and when needed.

Payroll Financing

This credit facility, helps you to pay your staff on time and in full.

Agriculture

Sterling Bank has a number of financing products, that can help grow your agribusiness. Some credit facilities are offered in partnership with government related organizations — like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Other products and services, such as the Agricultural Input Scheme and the Tractor Acquisition Scheme, are directly provided by Sterling.

Trade Services

A mix of different trade finance services are on offer. These services support companies involved in international trade transactions. Specific products provided by Sterling includes — import finance, letters of credit, bills for collection, foreign exchange and more.

H.E.A.R.T

HEART is an acronym for Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation. Here, Sterling Bank provides tailored finance solutions — to businesses involved in HEART sectors.

Guarantees

Bank guarantees are instruments that allow companies to demonstrate their creditworthiness, and show that they can meet their contractual obligations.

Other Financing Options

Sterling offers several other tailored financing solutions, designed to meet a variety of needs. For instance — LPO financing, invoice discounting, overdrafts, project finance and contract financing.

Qualifying for a Sterling Bank business loan

Sterling Bank has a mix of financing products and services. Not all of these products and services will be appropriate for your business, and at the same time — some products may be restricted to certain business locations.

The exact eligibility criteria of each product or service differs. Having said this, there are a few general lending requirements that apply — to pretty much any credit facility. Examples of such general lending requirements include — having a business with positive net cash flow, and having a business with good credit history.

A poor credit history will almost certainly restrict your funding options — to products that require some sort of collateral. On the other hand, if you have a good credit history — Sterling Bank may be willing to lend to you on an unsecured basis i.e. give you a loan without collateral.

Other standard lending requirements can include:

  • Having a registered business or company — with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
  • Having a business or corporate bank account
  • Been trading for some time (1-3 years minimum)
  • Must have a good Credit Bureau Report — with no unpaid obligations or bad debt
  • Being an active customer of the bank

Sterling Bank can only fund your company if it is registered with the CAC. This also means that private individuals, are not eligible for business financing.

If you are running an unregistered business — you may be able to get a personal loan, and use it for business purposes. Sterling also offers a number of personal loan and salary advance products — that you may want to take a look at.

Another good solution is to apply for funding with SukFin — who will be able to provide you with alternative financing options.

How to apply for a Sterling Bank business loan

The most important step to applying for a loan with not just Sterling, but any bank in Nigeria — is doing your research. Identify the set of loan and finance products most appropriate for your company. This will give you the best chance of actually securing a business loan.

Before you apply for a loan — browse through the bank’s website, and reach out to them with any questions you have. You can contact Sterling Bank via phone or email. Alternatively, you can make an inquiry at a relevant bank branch.

Loan applications can be made in person or online. Either way, an application form will need to be filled in. In this application form you will provide details of your business, its trading history and the purpose of the loan.

As part of any application process, you may also be asked for supporting documentation. This documentation, the application form you filled in, and any other publicly available information — is what Sterling Bank uses to come to a lending decision.

A successful loan application, will result in an offer letter being issued. Offer letters stipulate any terms and conditions you need to meet, before funds can be disbursed.

When it comes to supporting documentation, you may need to provide:

  • Completed application form
  • Company profile
  • Business plan
  • Cash flow budget
  • Bank statements (12 months)
  • Audited financial accounts
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Valid means of identification (driving license, passport, voters card)
  • Proof of address
  • Details of collateral offered (if any)

More or less than the above may be needed — depending on the credit facility of interest.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long will it take before receiving funds from Sterling Bank?

Loan disbursement times differ — in line with the credit facility applied for. Relatively small unsecured loans, are approved and disbursed the quickest.

How long do I have to pay back a Sterling Bank loan?

Sterling Bank finance products have flexible repayment plans. Sterling allows you to borrow for both the short and long-term.

How much can I borrow from Sterling Bank?

The amount of money that your business generates — is primarily what determines how much money Sterling will lend to you. As such, bigger businesses can normally access more money.

What is the interest rate charged on a Sterling Bank loan?

Sterling Bank interest rates differ. Some finance products can be accessed at single-digit interest rates.

Does Sterling Bank require collateral?

Sterling does not require collateral for all of its loan products. However, significantly large sums of money, can only be borrowed with some sort of collateral in place.

Security or collateral — that the bank may accept includes:

  • Obligations of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN Bonds, FGN Eurobonds, FGN Treasury Bills etc.)
  • Obligations of state governments or agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria
  • Other non-government debt instruments
  • Physical assets e.g. real property
  • Third party guarantors (or collateral)

SukFin — Every type of finance for every kind of business

We help SMEs in Nigeria find finance — as fast as possible