Wema Bank Plc. is set to usher in an exciting new future for the bank and its customers as confirmed by the bank’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr. Tunde Mabawonku.
Following its successful AGM which was held by proxy last month, Mr. Mabawonku highlighted the significant growth the bank has made in recent times and provided insight into exciting plans.
The Bank posted significant growth in its 2019 performance with an increase in the bank’s interest income and non-interest income from the previous year by 23% and 74% respectively. “The non-interest income growth was driven by a 22.9% growth in Net Fees and Commission due to increased volume of transactions across various electronic channels (ATM’s, POS, Mobile Banking, Electronic Banking),”Mr Mabawonku disclosed. He also highlighted the fact that the Net Trading Income grew by “a whopping 167.45% from the previous year due to increased income on Treasury Bills.”
Commenting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various sectors of the economy, Mr Mabawonku noted that the “disruption will impact some companies more than others.”
“There will be winners and losers with varying degrees of exposures to the pandemic. Low exposure sectors include healthcare sector and its value chain, telecommunications, on-line oriented businesses and professional services. Moderate exposure sectors include real estate, hospitality, clothing and textile, restaurant, education, agriculture, as well as tobacco sectors, while high exposure sectors include entertainment, Oil &Gas, construction, transportation, aviation, automobile and banking & finance.”
To help mitigate the effects of the pandemic, Mr Mabawonku explained that the bank has put in place a Business Continuity Plan designed to ensure that business operations are not severely impacted. “The plan is focused on two pillars namely – Business Continuity and Safety of customers and staff,” he said.
While emphasizing the strong support Wema Bank has offered to customers by putting a moratorium on repayment of SME loans during the pandemic, the Chief Finance and Strategy officer added that “we are adjusting to the new normal by putting frameworks in place to ensure our workforce is well equipped to function accordingly while ensuring the safety of customers across all our physical touchpoints.
For the rest of 2020, Mr Mabawonku stated that the bank is poised to achieve all its plans. He expressed happiness that the bank has stayed ahead of the curve via its previous technology-led investments in ALAT, Nigeria’s First Fully Digital Bank which has continued to yield results. He stated that plans were in place to continue strong growth in customer acquisition and retention through ALAT in 2020 despite the economic headwinds.
“We are also focused on exploring available options as a tier two bank to increase capital from shareholders and investors as well as build on viable partnerships with other individuals and institutions both locally and internationally.”
To achieve its goals for 2020, Mr Mabawonku candidly noted that “the bank needs to improve on its deposit mix, while also driving down the cost of funds. We believe that our revamped retail structure will help increase our low cost funds. The bank also needs to improve on its cost to income ratio.”
With the significant progress made by the bank in recent years, Mr Mabawonku confirms that moving forward, the coming years will be exciting and rewarding for its staff, customers and shareholders.