Lagos - Wema Bank, Nigeria’s most resilient financial institution and oldest surviving indigenous lender, yesterday, announced plans to reapply for a National Banking License in view of a proposed tier 1 capital injection of around N35billion by December 2012.
This comes on the back of a 29% increase in gross earnings and 56% increase in operating income by the bank for 2011 as made known during a presentation to financial regulators and the general public in Lagos.
Speaking on the bank’s performance and plans, Segun Oloketuyi, Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank, remarked that despite the daunting dynamics of the operating environment, the bank remains committed to scaling growth positively whilst adhering to best practice in risk-management and corporate governance and without compromising on the bank’s values of integrity, professionalism and exceptional service delivery
According to Mr. Oloketuyi, “The past 3 years have seen Wema Bank evolve into one of the leaders in the retail banking space through a well-structured transformation process that has seen the implementation of sound corporate governance and risk management frameworks to further engender a stronger and more dynamic business model. We are thus confident in our resolve to translate challenges into opportunities and maximising value for all stakeholders”
He further added that plans were at advanced stages to conclude on a N35billion tier-1Capital raising exercise which commenced a few months ago with a firm commitment of N15billion by a core investor already in place. “We expect to begin the process of seeking regulatory approval as soon as all necessary plans are finalised”, he stated.
A review of the trend of Wema Bank’s financial performance shows a positive, upward trend since 2009 when the new management took over with gross earnings growing 35.02% to N25.64billion as at December 2011. Though gains in earnings and various cost-containment strategies were largely wiped off by one-off impairment charges on other assets culminating in an after-tax loss of N8.116bn in December 2011, the bank has however fully realigned its books for positive performance. Nevertheless, a growth of 9.45% to N222.24billion was recorded in total assets in 2011 whilst an aggressive focus on cleaner loan books and better risk management has seen a significant reduction in NPL ratio from 56% in FY2010 to 14% in FY2011 (NPL now 4.5% as at Q3, 2012).
On the injection of additional capital, Oloketuyi expressed optimism that it will enable the bank achieve optimal business results by driving volumes as more risk assets and investment securities are financed in the short-to-medium term. The additional capital position will also enable Wema Bank seek regulatory approval for a National Banking license to further take advantage of opportunities in other commercial hubs in the country. In the long term, Oloketuyi said Wema Bank expects to maintain robust liquidity and ensure efficiency in investments whilst continuing to focus on attracting and retaining the best talents in the industry, efficient customer service delivery, supporting key business areas of SME banking, retail and commercial banking and the achievement of superior returns in order to become the leading retail bank in Nigeria”.
Oloketuyi also praised the effort of staff and continued support of all stakeholders whose undying commitment and loyalty has helped the bank steadily regain its pride of place amongst banks in Nigeria. He also stated that the bank will continue to focus on its key areas of strength, develop innovative, cutting-edge banking services whilst also supporting the development of communities in which it operates.
Established in 1945, Wema Bank is Nigeria’s most resilient and oldest surviving indigenous bank offering diversified financial services through a network of 130 branches, ATMs, various alternate channels and the Internet.
Kemi Aina, Head, Brand & Marketing Communications Dept. (email@example.com) +234-1-2711695
O’tega Ogra, Head, Corporate Communications Unit
Olumuyiwa Jesuro, Investor Relations