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Explainers - May 16, 2018

Wema Bank commits to sustainable growth through innovations

Wema Bank Plc has restated its resolve to its attained growth phase, which is the final stage of its restructuring process that started in 2009, saying it will sustain the trend leveraging innovation.

The lender stated this at its Annual General Meeting during which the financial report for the year ending December 31, 2017 was presented to shareholders.

The innovative bank, which launched ALAT, Africas first fully digital bank, confirmed the growth of its gross earnings by 20.07 per cent, from N54.36bn in full year 2016 to N65.27bn in full year 2017.

According to the Managing Director/ CEO, Mr. Segun Oloketuyi, the growth was supported by the launch of ALAT – Nigeria’s first fully digital bank, enhancing its already existing alternate platforms which recorded a combined growth rate of 205.67 per cent in transactions executed and with an estimated 30,000 accounts opened monthly. “We have made necessary steps to consolidate on the growth achieved in the new financial year,” he said.

He commended the shareholders for their understanding over the years and for seeing the bank through the first two restructuring phases, adding that, “I would like to appreciate our esteemed shareholders for their patience and the trust reposed on us. We are now in the final stage of our three-pronged strategy; stabilise the bank (2009 -2012), reposition the bank (2013-2017) and grow the bank (2017 and beyond).”

Commenting on the full year 2017 results, Oloketuyi said despite the slow start to the year, 2017 recorded significant progress, highlighted by the introduction of the Investor & Exporters (I&E) window and recovery in oil prices.

In October, the bank held its Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) towards its proposed Capital Reorganisation Scheme.  The CEO announced that the exercise had been concluded.

He explained, “With all relevant regulatory approvals in place and duly passed and reflected in the 2017 financial year accounts, the conclusion of the exercise would now lead to an efficient balance sheet, as ploughed back profit can be capitalised to grow the business while positioning the Bank for dividend payment in the near term.”

On plans ahead of the new financial year, he informed the shareholders that the bank approached the money market in November 2017 to raise N25bn in two series under a commercial paper programme; Series 1: N10bn 182-day tenor and Series 2: N15bn 270-day tenor. Given the relative decline in interest rates and possible growth within the economy, the bank is expected to reopen the second series of its N50bn debt issuance programme. This should commence from the second quarter of the year.

On his part, the Chief Finance Officer of the bank, Tunde Mabawonku, noted that the bank’s earnings from non-interest income remained strong, growing by 24.44 per cent from N9.80bnnnnn in 2016 to N12.19bn in 2017; surpassing its 2017 guidance of a 19 per cent growth rate.

The bank closed with a profit before tax of N3.01bn (2016: N3.24bn), despite reporting an  increase in impairment charges which rose  from N0.42bn in 2016 to N2.18bn in 2017.

According to him, “Risk management remains at the core of our operations, as we leverage on our prudent risk management practices and reported a non-performing loan ratio of 3.52 per cent (2016: 5.01 per cent) while our Capital Adequacy Ratio closed at 14.32 per cent (2016: 11.07 per cent). We remain confident, that the Banks credit rating will continue to remain affirmed at investment grade level.”

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