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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Nigerian banking sector is expected to be the engine and the fulcrum on which other sectors revolve. It is the business of the banking sector to provide the necessary financial support to the entire economy. The sector is to provide funds for the development of the agricultural sector, capital for the real sector (manufacturing), service industry, loans and advances to governments and the investing public. Contrary to these expectations, the Nigerian banking sector has witnessed persistent turbulence since its evolution in 1892 showing that the CBN has not been able to appreciate/identify fully the source(s) of the problems of the commercial banks and that of the other stakeholders in the industry.
Hence, there exists an expectation/communication gap between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on one hand and the deposit money banks, other stakeholders/the public on the other.
This expectation gap was traced to the poor capital base of the commercial banks and other such factors. The gap was also traced to the seeming ineffective communications between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the deposit money banks (DMBs) on the one hand and her other stakeholders/publics on the other. Specifically it was traced to the seeming ineffectiveness of the apex Bank’s marketing communications campaigns which form the focus of this study.
Marketing Communications Campaigns (MCC) which are the various efforts and tools organizations use to inform, remind and persuade customers/stake holders or the general public directly or indirectly about their products, brands, services, policies or the ideas that they wish to sell. Its mix consists of a number of modes or tools of communications – advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing,
events sponsorships and a host of others. Details of marketing communications including 14
its types, its modes or tools and its media or communication channels were reviewed in chapter two of this work.
The CBN marketing communications campaigns leaned more on Marketing Public Relations which is now the most powerful method of promoting products, services and ideas (Gaetan Giannini, 2010:1). He went further to hold that marketing public relations is the place where new and traditional media meet to publicize business, brands, people and ideas or policies.
Marketing public relations deals with publicity and other marketing communications mix elements such as advertising, public relations, personal selling or personal contacts, events sponsorship to build corporate, product, project, policy or personal image to facilitate marketing or compliance.
Hence the crisis in the banking sector required effective and special marketing campaigns such as marketing public relations (MPR) which is a marketing oriented aspect of public relations to address the enormous crisis witnessed in the Nigerian banking sector since its evolution in 1892
To fully appreciate the enormity of the crisis in the Nigerian banking sector, one has to take a cursory look at its turbulent evolution and the development. The evolution of the modern day banking industry in Nigerian can be classified under seven (7) phases from 1892 to 2007 for analytical convenience. The periods are represented by the origin and early banking activities (1892 – 1912), the emergence of the West African Currency Board (1912
– 1929); the free banking era (1929 – 1952), the era of banking legislation and the advent
of the CBN (1952- 1959), the era of banking legislation and the development of the 15
banking system (1960 – 1986), the era of banking sector reforms (1986 – 2003) and the era of banking sector consolidation and other reforms (2004).
The era of banking sector reforms (1986-2003) witnessed two forms of banking sector reforms. According to Somoye (2008:5) one was 1997-2002 in which the minimum capital base for each commercial bank was raised from N50 million to N500 million while that of a merchant bank was raised from N40 million to N500 million also. The other reform was in 2003/early 2004 which saw the emergence of universal banking system (banks performing both commercial and merchant banking functions) with capital base raised to N2.0 billion. This policy led to the liquidation of 21 banks and the total number of banks shrunk from 110 to 89 banks.
The high rate of bank failures in Nigeria prior to the 2004-2007 reforms triggered off series of reforms in the Nigeria banking sector including the one under study. During the earlier reforms, all diagnosis/attention was focused on problem of inadequate capital base as the sole ‘ailment’ in the Nigerian banking sector without any proper attention focused on the marketing communications gaps in the banking sector. Also lacking in those reforms was proper application of marketing public relations strategies by apex Bank.
However, in the 2004-2007 banking sector reforms, the then Governor of the CBN Soludo, (2004:3) traced the problems in the Nigerian banking sector to both poor capital base of commercial banks (Deposit Money Banks) and some other factors such as the ineffective marketing communications between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the deposit money banks/the general public. This led to the recognition of marketing communications
campaigns as a veritable tool for attainment of banking sector policy objectives. 16
Marketing communications campaigns (MCC) which are the various efforts and tools organizations use to inform, remind and persuade customers directly or indirectly about their products, brands, services, ideas or policies that they wish to sell were therefore used by the Central Bank of Nigeria to execute her policy objectives of banking sector reforms, currency restructuring and the abuse of the Naira and their contributions were evaluated in this study.
1.2. Statement of the Research Problem
The perennial distress in the Nigerian banking sector causes a lot of concerns not only to the monetary authorities, but also to the depositors and the general public. Soludo (2004:2) This was evidenced in fact that between 1892 and 2007 ninety-one (91) banks failed in Nigeria.
The sector has not been able to provide funds for the development of the other sectors of the Nigerian economy. According to Soludo (2008:7) prior to the 2004-2007 banking sector reforms it got to a stage where the total capitalization of all the banks in Nigerian stood at N293 million which was just the size of number four (4) bank in South Africa and the banking population ratio was as low as 1: 30,432. Hence the need for banking sector reforms.
In the attempt to reform and reposition the banking sector of the Nigerian economy, a number of policies were introduced. They include; banking consolidation or reforms, which set N25 billion as the minimum capital of any bank that must operate in Nigeria by 31st December 2005, the liberalized the foreign exchange market, that brought 1,048 Bureau-de
change companies (BDCs) into operation by 31st December, 2008 and the stabilization of 17
the foreign exchange rate. The reforms also led to the introduction of microfinance banks on 15th December, 2006 and enabled the establishment of 830 microfinance banks by 31st December, 2008 among other reforms such as the improvement in the payment system.
The CBN had to apply marketing communications campaigns to drive home all these reforms to the major stakeholders such as the commercial banks managers, core investors, other stakeholders and the general public. The evaluation of the influence of the CBN marketing communications campaigns exerted through awareness creation, interest generation and opinion change communications campaigns on the banking sector reforms was part of the problem this study resolved.
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