Marketing is a new phenomenon in the Nigerian banking sectors. Banks in general were slow in embracing the marketing concept. Prior to 1986 banks were practicing armchair banking with little innovation. But with the advent of SAP (Structural Adjusted Programme) in 1986, the entire economy was liberalized and many new banks came into existence. Consequently, the banking environment became very competitive and banks have no option than to imbibe in marketing philosophy. In carrying out this research study, an attempt has been made to find out and establish the relationship between three important aspects of bank marketing, namely, marketing efforts, product innovation quality of service and its effect on customer patronage. These innovations services of the bank have largely helped in retaining existing customers and also creating potential customers.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The world economy faces many challenges that test every nation’s ability to meet the demands of a global market place. In response to and as a reflection of this development, the Nigerian economy in advancing and meaningful, the component industries and sector of the economy must in consonance respond to the same challenges.
The Nigerian banking industry is one of such industries undergoing the greatest challenges today.
The liberalization of the licensing of a new financial institution gave birth to new banks and non-bank financial institutions.
This proliferation presets a special challenge, which has led to keen competition in the banking industry.
Another challenge comes from the technological environment. Electronic banking has posed a great challenge especially to the older banks because of their size and location of their rural branches where there are no facilities.
All these abound with the availability of differentiated products indicate to an extent the most competitive period in the Nigerian banking strategies, an increase in the quality of bank services, though under a restrictive monetary policy regime.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Banking has now become a large and complex service industry, there by making the task of identifying the changing needs of customer as complex as the marketing task in the product industries. Due to the rapid changes in customer needs and the business environment, the continued success of a bank will depend on its ability to respond rapidly and correctly to the changing environment and provide the broadest range of profitable financial services to the greatest number of people. It is therefore imperative that banks should thoroughly appreciate the importance of marketing philosophy in forming an integral part of the corporate objectives of banks.
Gone are the days, when banks waited for business, the banks now have to look for the services they can offer and go out of their way to approach the client to whom such services are sold. They must take pains to study the potential customer requirement before approaching them and the services must be offered with maximum satisfaction to existing and potential customers.
This is no doubt a revolution, a transition from passive and quiet banking to the active and aggressive banking.
The primary objective of this study is to identify the relevance of the marketing concept (marketing strategies, mix and importance of quality) to the banking services in Nigeria.
Specifically, it is intended to determine.
- The significant relationship between marketing efforts adopted by the bank and customers patronage.
- The significant relationship between product innovation and customer patronage.
- To identify the effect of quality of services on customer patronage.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE / JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY
Banking occupies a central place in a nation’s financial system, and it is an essential process for the growth of the national economy across the world today, concurrent forces of regulatory reforms, intense competition and technological advancement have pushed banks into now and unfamiliar directions.
In Nigeria, the banking industry is undergoing the greatest challenges today. These challenges can be closely associated with the adoption of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) aimed at improving the health of the nation’s economy. Essentially; an attempt is being made to reduce the size of the government expenditure while economic prices are to be determined increasingly by market forces of demand and supply.
As part of these programmes, the financial system of which the banking sector is predominant was liberalized. This came in two major respects viz, market entry liberalization and deregulation of interest creates. As a consequence, the number of banks has skyrocket from 40 in 1985 to 50 at the end of 1996. Various policies were put in place to ensure public interest. However they resulted in a myriad of specialized banking programme.
From the scenario described above, the result is a cutthroat competition among the banks. This has therefore placed the customers in their rightful position as “kings”. This has led banks in general to be very innovative in services and purposeful in management.
With an increasing number of commercial banks, “the new challenges of emerging services” and the activities of legalized bureau-de-change. All these abounding with the availability of differentiated products indicates to an extent the most competitive period in the Nigerian banking industry. Thus, banks are compelled to get engaged in strong marketing strategies, an increase in the quality of bank services, though under a restrictive monetary policy regime.
Many banks are also becoming financial supermarkets offering a diverse range of financial services and many other are involved in the trade of exotic financial instruments with significant tendency away from orthodox banking.
So far, in this era of deregulation, one significant consequence of the financial liberalization policy is the high spate of competition which was brought about by the considerable physical expansion in the banking industry, have meant that banks be highly innovative and aggressive in all the facets of finance. The seller’s market in which banks operated neither to, and which could be backed up by highly conservative doctrines has now changed into a buyers market requiring new concepts, ideas and orientations in the field of bank marketing to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
As a result of the facts that banks are now “market driven” as discuss above has made this study very necessary.