Sourcing For Financing For Your Business II

In the last edition of our newsletter, we offered some advice to our readers on raising funds for their business. Fundraising, however, is only the first step of the long journey towards business success. Your money is only as good as how you manage it, and the successful business owner must be particularly diligent about how their funds are used.

With this in mind, we have decided to dedicate this month’s edition of the SME Newsletter to the management of business finances. Some tips are provided below:

Separate your business and personal finances: Before you start the process of managing your business finances, you need to take the vital step of separating your business funds from your personal finances. This will help you keep a close eye on your business transactions and save you from a lot of stress and trouble later, when, for example, you are trying to apply for a loan or showcasing your books to potential investors. Here at Wema Bank, we have two accounts that can help in this regard, the My Business Account and My Business Account Plus, which can be run with zero account maintenance fees, in addition to other excellent benefits.

Draw up a financial plan: A financial plan entails budgeting, accounting, forecasting, tax planning, and risk management. When kicking off with your business operations, you can start by drawing up a budget. A budget is a detailed plan for your projected expenses, and while most individuals tend to focus exclusively on these expenses, you should also focus on your projected income. You can only plan your spending effectively when you have some idea when – and how much – income you would be receiving over a certain period. Once you have planned out your income and expenses (including things like taxes and staff salaries), you can then begin to figure out how much money you will have leftover for savings and possible re-investment, with the goal being increased profitability for your business.

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Manage your cash flow: Financial management should be at the heart of your business operations. You must thoroughly understand the numbers that drive your business if you intend to be a successful entrepreneur. Sound financial management requires managing your cash flows efficiently.

Monitor your business expenses regularly (daily or weekly), review your business and financial operations and assess your core business and financial operations as they relate to your sales and operating margins. The knowledge and insights gained here can help you decide on the financial services (loans, for instance) and tools you will need and even warn you of coming problems or issues like fraud.

Hire the right talent (professionals): When running your business, you will discover very quickly that you cannot do everything yourself. Once you attain a certain level of scale in your operations, you will need to assemble a team. Irrespective of the individual tasks assigned to these employees, they will all be working with one goal in mind: making the most money for your business, either by maximizing incomes or minimizing expenses, most often a combination of both. It goes without saying that your bookkeeper(s) or accountant(s) should be the best you can find (and afford!) as a good accountant can help you find deductions and tax savings and ensure that you remain penalty-free and get the most value for your money. Sometimes, the best “talent” may not necessarily be human. In spite of the presence of a human team working for your business, you will need to:

  1. Keep an eye on their operations, especially where it concerns your finances and,
  2. Support them with the best software available. With Wema Bank’s ALAT for Business (AFB), you can rest assured that your human team will be fully supported by a digital team member which will allow them (and you) to manage your account(s) and transactions, execute bulk transfers of up to  ₦2,000,000,000, pay your bills and so much more. Note that you can access all these features securely, either via your mobile phone or via web. In addition to ALAT for Business, you can use other accounting software to structure your books and monitor your expenses.

Decide what types of payments you will accept: Having a variety of payment options is a source of increased convenience for your customers. Any convenience for your customers is a source of increased revenue for you. While “cash is king”, you can never have too many options, whether they be Wema Bank’s Scan2Pay offering, our USSD channel (*945#), M-Cash, WemaPay, WemaOnline, and ALAT (bank transfers). When setting up payment options, make sure that you standardize payment terms (for easy entry into your books) and set up rules which will apply to all your customers (if you intend to permit payments in instalments, then all your customers should be able to do this, not just a select few). If you apply the same terms and rules across the board, you won’t have to worry about remembering the arrangements you made with each customer.

Have an emergency plan: No one goes into business with the expectation that things will go wrong, but if the past year taught us anything, it would be the importance of “hoping for the best and planning for the worst”. A good place to start here would be to maintain an emergency fund (it is generally advised that building an emergency fund should be prioritized over other forms of saving and investments in the first few months of running your business). In some cases, however, your emergency may be larger than your emergency fund, and in this case, you may need to pursue other means of tiding over your challenges. This is where loans come in. Most business-owners tend to shy away from taking loans, which is unfortunate, as loans can be a very effective tool for supporting your business when used correctly.

Note that applying for loans should not be the first port of call for a business that has just kick-started operations, in most cases, you will need to show a history of (successful) operations when applying for loans, and this requirement effectively rules applicants out if they are just starting out. For the established business owner however, the process of applying for a loan should be launched at the right time. It is advised that you do not wait for too long before applying for a loan (if you need one). Waiting for too long will be waiting until your business is already in financial trouble, which is when you are least likely to get a loan. You should apply when your financials are still in a good state so that the loans can then be used for expansion or as an emergency line of credit instead of rescue.

When considering a loan, you should start by engaging your financial advisor. As we highlighted in the last edition of this newsletter, Wema Bank maintains an SME Help Desk ( to help you with this.

Suppose your advisor points you in the direction of taking a loan. Wema Bank has a suite of offerings available to serve, whether you are a school owner, or you own a pharmacy, or run a hospital, or need general business support to finance your working capital needs (you can even borrow up to N5,000,000 without collateral!). Furthermore, we can facilitate your access to intervention funds made available by the Federal Government. We also offer corporate credit and debit cards which can help with easy and immediate access to cash.

In conclusion, cash is the lifeblood of your business. To succeed at business, you need to ensure that your funds are appropriately utilized (even as you work to grow them), which calls for a detailed and systematic application of yourself and your resources. Lastly, never hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

Sourcing For Financing For Your Business

Starting and running a business successfully in Nigeria is no small feat. With a ‘Doing Business’ ranking of 131 out of 190 countries, and a ‘Starting a Business’ ranking of 105, there are several challenges ranging from the infrastructural to the financial, facing every business owner in the country; added on top of the pressures of serving a dynamic and fickle customer base.

The statistics are grim; as at 2017, a report by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO’s) Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Nigeria revealed that 80% of companies fail in the first 18 months of operation. This has culminated in an average failure rate of 61% for start-ups in Nigeria (2010 – 2018), for which we were ranked 7th on the continent.

It was with this picture in mind that we decided to ask you – our readers – to send in your questions about the challenges you face in running your businesses in Nigeria. Not surprisingly, and especially from novice business-owners, the most frequently asked question was: “How do I raise capital to fund my business(or idea)?”

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Access to capital and credit tops the list of problems faced by businesses on almost every list that has been compiled on the issue of business problems,

which is why we have decided to dedicate this month’s edition of our SME Newsletter to addressing this challenge and listing out ways to solve it.

  • Start by bootstrapping: This is pulling in your own personal savings and/or resources to fund your business idea. It should be a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked during planning. It goes without saying that it is easier to convince other investors of the seriousness of your idea if you have someskin in the game. However, if you do not have any personal savings, you may need to work at something else and work at your business on a part-time basis until you get them.

There are also a few practices, such as reinvesting your profits and running on a very lean budget which form part of the bootstrapping process, and they basically entail asking yourself “do I really need this much money?” and then working from there. A lot of the time, the answer is “No” andyou will beable to identify things you can do without.

  • Family & friends: You can think of them as “angel investors” if you will, but your social and familial circle can be a potential pool of low-risk funds for your business. You can also take them on as financial partners in your business. “Mommy or Daddy’s money” or the “urgent few k’s ” can be very helpful to your business. If you are savvy enough to structure this in a way that leaves you debt-free, even better. But if it comes in the form of a loan, make sure to spell out the terms of the agreement – ideally in writing – properly.
  • Bank loans: Loans from financial institutions are an option worth considering in sourcing finance for your business. Often, this requires you to have collateral and present financial statements. However, here at Wema Bank, SMEs can access financial support without collateral and without a need to provide financial statements, and our loans are one of the most affordable in the market. Should you want to talk to someone about how to access these loans, send an email to
  • Venture capital and angel investors: These are usually targeted at high-growth companies (think Fin-techs) or companies that have already shown either good cashflow, or a measure of profitability. Furthermore, venture capitalists and angel investors generally channel their funds to businesses in particular locations, or sectors, so you will need to carry out some research as to what is available and then plan for the stage in your business when you would like to approach such investors for funding.
  • Crowdfunding and Crowdlending: With the rise of social media, and the establishment of platforms such as GoFundMe, there are now boundless possibilities for business-owners to request for and receive funding from large groups of people from all over the world. This usually involves sending a gift (or samples of the product under development) to your donors, but it is a highly scalable and quick means of raising funds, albeit one that is highly dependent on your marketing skills and your online reach.
  • Government programs and grants: Government support for businesses, either through fiscal policies or monetary interventions by the CBN have been on the uptick, particularly in the COVID-19 era. As such, avid business-owners should keep an eye and an ear out for information on the available funding programs or have discussions with their Bank on how to take advantage of this. Here at Wema Bank, we have Relationship Managers who are always on hand to answer all questions you may have on this funding option and point out the grants you are eligible for.
  • Participate in (and win) contests: There are a number of contests that afford the winners funding for their businesses at all stages of operations. Here at Wema Bank, we have our own Hackaholics program that is open for tech-based business solutions, where they stand a chance of winning up to $10,000 in funding.

Starting a business is no mean feat, but the payoffs of succeeding far outweigh the inconveniences and stress of the early stages. Also, depending on the industry your business is operating in, practices such as factoring, invoice discounting, and moving in with a business accelerator or incubator program can help you see some growth, even without having access to large pools of funds.

[1] 2020 World Bank Doing Business Index

[2] “Only 20% SMEs manage to survive in Nigeria, The Guardian, 26 May 2017

[3] Nigeria records 61% start-ups’ failure rate in 9 years”, BusinessDay, 18 March 2020

written by Somtochukwu Okoroafor

WEMA Bank Plc, proposes 3rd consecutive dividend payment and closes with N1trillion Balance sheet size; releases results for the full year ended 31 December 2020.

LAGOS, NIGERIA –21st April 2021 – Wema Bank PLC (Bloomberg: Wema NL) (“Wema’ or “the Bank”), announces its audited results for year ended 31st December 2020.


The Chief Finance Officer, Tunde Mabawonku gave the following updates:

“The Bank weathered the disruptions of the 2020 Financial Year through a sharp focus on safe lending, keeping NPLs low and driving transaction income. The Bank remains resilient and has continued to grow its business in an efficient manner as we persist in adapting our strategy to yield strong financial results despite the adverse economic situation. 

The Bank recorded a y/y double-digit growth of 39.42% in Customer Deposit (FY 2020; N804.87billion, FY 2019; N577.28billion). Net Loans closed at N360.08billion, a growth of 24.49% (FY 2019; N289.24billion), as the bank continues to support its customers across multiple sectors of the economy. Non-Performing Loans (NPL) was pushed down to 4.70% y/y from 7.38% in FY 2019.  The Bank closed with Total Assets and Contingents of over N1trillion naira.

The bank has proposed a dividend of 4kobo per share in FY 2020 (FY 2019: 4kobo). This will be the 3rd straight year that the bank has paid dividends.

According to Mabawonku, “We have a clear strategy of becoming the “Most Dominant Digital Bank in Nigeria” by 2023.  We have positioned ALAT as the go-to platform by both increasing customer acquisition and working with eco-system partners on payments and settlements.

During the year, Wema Bank was ranked 2nd in the Retail Category and 6th in the SME category in the 2020 KPMG Customer Satisfaction Survey. The bank also received an award for the Best SME Bank of the Year for 2020 from BusinessDay, thus recognizing Wema Bank’s continuous support for small and medium scale businesses through loans, business advisory and innovative payments & collections support.


Financial Performance Highlights for Full Year ended 31 December 2020.


Income statement (N’bn) FY 2020 FY 2019 (%∆)
Gross Earnings 81.38 94.89 -14.24%
Net Interest Income 30.85 25.99 18.72%
Profit before Tax 5.93 6.76 -12.25%
Earnings Per Share 11.90 kobo 13.50 kobo -11.85%


Balance Sheet (N’bn) FY 2020 FY 2019 (%∆)
Total Assets 979.52 715.87 36.83%
Loans and Advances(net) 360.08 289.24 24.49%
Deposits 804.87 577.28 39.42%
Shareholders’ Funds 59.14 55.16 7.22%


Key Ratios (in %) FY 2020 FY 2019
Return on Average Equity 10.03 14.71
Return on Average Asset 0.61 1.02
Net Interest Margin 5.74 6.04
Yield on Asset 12.01 16.47
Capital Adequacy Ratio 15.05 13.60
Liquidity Ratio 31.04 32.37
Loan-to-Deposit Ratio 43.24 48.61
Non-Performing Loans Ratio 4.70 7.38
Cost to Income Ratio 85.89 84.66


Financial Performance Review for Full Year ended 31, December 2020.


Income Statement

  • Gross Earning of N81.38billion, a decline of 14.24% YoY (FY’2019 N94.89billion), driven by low interest rate environment on both fixed income and other financial instruments.
  • Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N5.93billion, a decline of 12.25% YoY from N6.76billion in FY 2019.
  • Non-Interest Income of N16.83billion, a decline of 30.48% (FY’2019; N24.21billion), drivers are drop in trading and foreign exchange income.


Statement of Financial Position

  • Customer Deposit Increased by 39.42% YTD to N804.87billion from N577.28billion in FY 2019.
  • Net Loans and Advances of N360.08billion, a YTD growth of 24.49% (FY 2019; N289.24billion).
  • Total Asset grew by 36.38% to N979.52billion (N715.87billion in FY 2019).


One of Nigeria’s leading banks – Wema Bank has set out to make this season of love as eventful as possible for her customers and members of its social media community.

With an outline of activities peppered with giveaways of all sorts, including goody bags, airtime and even data bonuses, Wema Bank is indeed poised to bringing the spirit of love, good cheer and fun to all, especially in this season.

The Bank’s two-week long love campaign on social media, slated for February 5 – 18, 2021, will be geared towards encouraging new and existing customers to transact and pay bills with the *945# string codes, as such actions will be getting rewarded with prizes.

Knowledge of the different *945# string codes, wit and creativity in developing loved-themed messages and videos around the codes and even fastest-finger-first type quizzes amongst other activities will be featured during the 14-day campaign run.

Speaking towards the kick off of the event, Wema Bank’s Head, Brand and Marketing Communications, Funmilayo Falola said: “The *945# sting codes represent the ease and simplicity of banking that we offer our customers. Plugging into this festivity of love, we intend to remind our Wema Bank family that not only do we care for their ease of banking, but their general welfare and happiness is a concern of ours, hence the gift and goodies attached to this campaign.”

Even as her customers go about transacting with the *945# string codes this season, hoping to claim one prize or the other, the Bank encourages them to be especially loving, not just to family and friends but even to their own selves as well.


With the African Continental Free Trade Area now in force, the opportunities for SMEs to expand and grow are boundless. Information is key to unlocking all the benefits inherent in this agreement to Nigeria businesses.

Wema Bank is holding a webinar designed to provide SMEs with all the information they require to leverage this great opportunity for expansion and growth. The webinar which is tagged, “African Continental Free Trade Area; Unlocking the Benefits to SMEs, will feature thought leaders and industry experts including;

Mr. Francis Anatogu, Executive Secretary, National Action Committee on AFCTA & Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector. Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner & West Africa Tax Leader, PwC; and Mr. Adeola Ajai, Head Correspondent Banking, Wema Bank.

Attendees will get clarity on the scope of the African Free Trade Agreement, how they can benefit from this agreement, modalities set out by government for businesses seeking to trade under this agreement as well as the support mechanism put together by Wema Bank to facilitate intra-Africa trade.

While the webinar targets Nigeria Businesses, it is open to all members of the public who may be interested in learning about the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The Webinar, which is free for attendees, will hold virtually on Zoom platform on 10am, Friday, 29th January 2021. Interested persons can register via this link.

For more enquiries, please contact


Nigeria’s leading innovative Bank, Wema Bank, has shortlisted ten finalists to take part in the Virtual Bootcamp for its Hackaholics (2.0) Accelerator Program slated to start on the 18th of January 2021. The finalists, pooled from over five hundred applications, were revealed during the two-day virtual pitch program last year.

The pitch program began with an opening remark by the Managing Director, Wema Bank, Mr Ademola Adebise. He commended the startups for their efforts and willingness to contribute to the growth of Nigerian society. He said, “We are very proud to create a platform where businesses can have access to diverse resources that can enable them to provide solutions to prevailing everyday challenges. This is born out of our aspiration to create innovative solutions that can help us as a bank, our environment and the country at large. In its second year, we are very excited to have started an initiative focused on creating commercialization opportunities for participating businesses by leveraging top-notch resources needed to give their solutions a competitive edge in the market”.

The first day of the pitch program was an avenue for participating startups to prepare and get to know more about Hackaholics 2.0, the evaluation criteria, an overview of each identified industry, market demands and needs, the importance of tech in these areas, and a session for questions and answers. The second day of the program enabled participants to pitch their solutions to a group of industry experts(panellists) resulting in the shortlisting of ten finalists out of the twenty participants that pitched their solutions.

The ten finalists made up of two businesses across the five identified verticals; Health-tech, Edutech, Fintech, Gaming & Betting and Agritech, would be further engaged and helped to develop and groom their solutions into market-ready products. Among other engagement is an intensive month-long Bootcamp where these startups would undergo various ideation, design and development sessions in collaboration with our partners GreenHouse Capital (GHC) and known industry experts from home and abroad.

Wema Bank Leads In Customer Service and Digital Banking.

Wema Bank Nigeria Plc ranked top in two recent independent surveys on the Banking industry. In its 2020 Digital Channel scorecard, KPMG Nigeria named the bank as a leader in Payments and Transactions for digital banking. Also, in its recently released Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey, the consulting firm confirmed that Wema Bank climbed ten places to 2nd position in the Retail category.

Following a qualitative study of 17 Nigerian commercial banks focusing strongly on retail banking operations, KPMG Nigeria’s Digital scorecard tested customer experience across five areas – Digital Onboarding, Digital Payments & Transfers, Digital Lending, Self Service and Customer Care. It categorized banks into four distinct categories; Leaders, Challengers, Followers and Late Starters. Wema Bank emerged a leader in the Mobile & Internet banking (payments/transfers) and the Self-Service categories.

The assessment also revealed ALAT By Wema, the bank’s digital banking platform, as the best digital banking channel in Nigeria. According to the report, ALAT By Wema stands out because “the user interface is simple, and only relevant information is visible on the screen, thus keeping design minimal, user friendly, and removing the possibilities for user errors or confusion”. The digital banking platform has not only provided the latest banking technology, it fits perfectly into the lifestyle of Nigerians; making life easier for everyone.

In the recently published 2020 KPMG Customer Experience Survey, Wema Bank showed significant growth in the retail category, climbing up ten (10) places from the previous year to 2nd position, with an above industry average of 74.6% CX score. The survey cut across six universal pillars of Personalization, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time & Effort and Empathy. The leading banks showed a mastery of these pillars and are outstanding at all of them. Wema Bank’s achievement in this category is a mark of its dedication to excellent customer service and refreshing support for all its customers. 

Separately, the bank received an award for the Best SME Bank of the Year for 2020 from BusinessDay. The award recognizes Wema Bank’s continuous support for small and medium scale businesses through loans, business advisory, and ease of payments and transactions.

Having redefined the banking space with ALAT, Wema Bank boasts of a capacity to onboard customers digitally end-to-end without the need to visit branches or agents. The bank continues to deliver innovative products to enrich payment and transfer offerings by creating a perfect blend of speed and functionality.

Bankers’ Committee Embarks On Cybersecurity & Fraud Awareness Initiative – Launches Moni Sense Campaign.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee of Nigeria, on Monday, September 7th, 2020 launched its cybersecurity & fraud awareness campaign, called ‘Moni Sense’; to educate the general public on protecting themselves against cyber fraud and scams. As we kick off the end of year business season, comprehensive fraud and cybersecurity awareness remains important in ensuring the general Nigerian public is informed on their role in protecting their banking information from fraudulent activities.

Speaking on the initiative, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, Chairman, Financial Literacy and Public Enlightenment Sub-Committee (FLPE), said;

“Fraudsters and scammers continually devise new ways to deceive the unsuspecting public, usually to lure them to inadvertently disclose confidential bank information. We encourage Nigerians to always be cautious and ignore any text message, phone call, or email asking to update your bank information, provide sensitive bank details, disclose online banking details, debit card numbers, bank verification number (BVN) or PIN to anyone.”

Financial literacy and public enlightenment are a critical pillar of the Bankers’ Committee mandate, making initiatives like this critical to the goal of increasing the number of financially included citizens in the country. With this initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee of Nigeria aims to ensure Nigerians are empowered with critical information and knowledge necessary to make important financial decisions, enhance economic prosperity, stay fraud aware and cyber safe, and drive poverty reduction across the country.

In March 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee introduced credit support schemes for households, MSMEs and businesses across several sectors including Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Trading, and Aviation. The Bank unveiled a succession of targeted facilities starting with a N50 billion credit facility to support households, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), followed by another N100 billion credit support intervention for the health sector as part of efforts to combat the negative impact of coronavirus (COVID 19) on the Nigerian economy.

For any enquiries, please send an email to

Wema Bank Encourages Customers To Remain Safe

Wema Bank, Nigeria’s long-standing indigenous bank is urging customers and all Nigerians to stay safe as a result of the recent unrest in the country following the #endsars protest. As a highly innovative bank, Wema Bank encourages everyone to explore alternative banking channels as well as its digital banking platform ALAT for all financial transactions at a time like this.
Wema bank has recently notified customers of its decision to shut down branches in affected locations where a curfew has been imposed by the government, following this development, the bank issued a statement on its social media channels pleading with customers to remain sensitive to happenings in their environment and ensure safety is treated as top priority. Wema bank also urged its customers to be remain alert and be wary of phishing emails as times like this become target period for scammers to carry out their deeds.
Alternative banking channels available as disclosed by the bank includes the use of *945#, whatsapp banking as well as the use of ALAT, Africa’s first digital bank, to carry out banking needs. Customers can also reach out to its 24 hours contact centre; PURPLECONNECT (07000787753,• for prompt and seamless issues resolution.
In a statement made by Mrs Funmilayo Falola, Head, Brands and Marketing communication, Wema Bank, “We understand these are peculiar times and we encourage everyone to remain safe. As a bank, we remain committed to the safety and wellbeing of our customers which is why we plead with everyone to ensure they stay home as our online banking channels are available for all banking needs. We would continually keep to our promise to be with you all the way and we are positive that together we will achieve our dream of a better Nigeria.

Wema Bank Promotes 214 Staff, Reaffirms Commitment to Career Growth

Amidst the harsh realities brought by the pandemic, Wema Bank, last week, announced that it had promoted 214 staff members. The promotion is part of the bank’s custom to reward good performance.


The promotion, which comes with a salary increment, cuts across several departments and grades, including senior, middle and junior staff.


Chief Human Resources Officer, Wema Bank, Ololade Ogungbenro, said that the promotion was part of the bank’s intent to maintain a vibrant workforce by rewarding the effort of staff members.


“2020 has been a difficult year for all us but as a bank, we have had to depend on the commitment, innovative efforts, passion and dedication of our staff to ensure we continue to deliver refreshing digital solutions to our teeming customers.”


“Wema Bank is known for maintaining a motivated workforce with high standards of professionalism, innovation and excellence. Despite the current challenges of the Nigerian business terrain, the recent promotion is our way to reassure staff of the bank’s commitment to maintaining overall workforce motivation and support their career growth.”


Mrs Ogungbenro added that “while it may be practically impossible to promote everyone, measures have been taken to ensure the career growth of all staff through special courses, training and other strategic partnerships.”


“We have rebuilt our training school, the Purple Academy, which serves as a pathway for new staff to join the bank as well as a learning centre for staff members to increase individual and organisational productivity. We have also partnered with Coursera, one of the largest online courses and training platform in the world, to deliver free courses to staff to enable an increase in capacity, modern-day work practices and knowledge across several areas,” she explained.