FITCH RATING AFFIRMS WEMA BANK’S LONG-TERM NATIONAL RATING AT BBB- WITH A STABLE OUTLOOK
LAGOS, NIGERIA – November 21, 2016 – Wema Bank Plc. (Bloomberg: WEMABANK: NL)
Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research has affirmed the Long-term National Rating of Wema Bank at BBB-. This is reflective of the Bank’s stable outlook and continued viability, in spite of the challenging macro-economic environment.
The rating agency also affirmed Wema Bank’s Long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at B-, in line with the bank’s stand-alone creditworthiness as defined by its Viability Ratings (VR).
The affirmation at a time when some top banks were downgraded underscores Wema Bank’s strength and places it just one notch below some bigger banks, including a Tier 1 bank.
According to Fitch, the banks' VRs are sensitive to materially weaker asset quality or a sharp fall in capital ratios. The Nigerian National Ratings reflect Fitch's opinion of each bank's creditworthiness relative to the best credit in the country.
In the agency’s opinion, the banking industry will remain challenging, considering low oil prices, continued disruptions in oil production and constraints regarding the Forex liquidity. As such, the industry could witness a rise in non-performing loan (NPL) ratios, though Fitch expects banks to remain profitable in 2016. The rating agency affirmed Wema Bank’s Viability Rating (VR), showing a Stable Outlook.
The Long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) of Wema Bank also remains Stable at B-, as the rating is driven by Wema’s Viability Ratings (VR). Wema Bank does not expect any material change in the Bank’s intrinsic creditworthiness.
Wema Bank’s strengths, which underpin its long and short-term ratings, include the bank’s strong risk management culture, low NPL exposure and good liquidity levels. The Bank’s affirmed rating further reinforces its resolve to remain a smarter and efficient Bank, driven by innovation and technology.
Segun Oloketuyi, the Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc, stated that the rating is an affirmation of the Bank’s continued transformation, risk culture and positioning, as one of the major players within Nigeria’s Retail Banking Landscape.
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About WEMA Bank Plc
Operating with a National Banking Licence, Wema Bank offers a range of retail and SME banking, corporate banking, treasury, trade services and financial advisory to its customers. Wema Bank operates a network of over 136 branches and service centres across Nigeria, backed by a robust ICT platform.