FACTORS INFLUENCING CUSTOMER LOYALTY IN THE NIGERIA BANKING INDUSTRY. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON BANKING AND FINANCE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Nigerian banks in the face of increasing competition are currently facing enormous challenges which have made survival increasingly difficult. To survive and be successful providers of financial services, it is extremely important that the present environment should go with a new management order which will offer the customer satisfaction and make better business performance. It is evident that today customers have increasingly become so enlightened and aware of their importance that ignoring them in search for competitive advantage can be suicidal for banks. Therefore, banks must brace up to the challenges in a bid to provide an effective customer service.
Banking operations in Nigeria started in 1892 when African Banking Corporation opened its first branch in Lagos to finance the shipping business of Elder Dumpster and Company which was operating steamship services between Liverpool and the West African coast. The Bank of British West Africa took over the activities of the African Banking Corporation in 1893 (now First Bank of Nigeria Plc). In 1917, Barclays Bank (now Union Bank of Nigeria Plc) was established. Shortly year, many more Banks were established; some of which are the British and French Bank (now United Bank for Africa Plc) established in 1949, the Industrial and Commercial Bank established in 1929, National Bank of Nigeria Plc established in 1933, the Agbonmagbe Ban (now Wema Bank) established in 1945, Nigeria Penny Bank established in 1940, Nigeria Farmer and Co-operative Bank Plc established in 1947 and so on. (Okoh, S. E. and Unugbro, A. O. 2003).
The 1930’s and 1940’s witnessed some bank failures which led to the setting up of the Patron’s Commission of 1948 which formed the bedrock of the Banking Ordinance of 1952. Even since then, commercial banks dominated the financial system and constituted the largest group in the financial sector. On the attainment of independence in 1960, there were twelve (12) banks with a total of 160 offices. There was a rapid growth in the 70’s and by 1977, there were 19 banks with 492 branches. By 1987, the number of commercial banks had grown to 48 with 1714 branches. (Nwankwo, 1991).