- Wema Bank Posts N37.89b Gross Earnings in Q3
Wema Bank Plc has announced a 16.36 per cent growth in gross earnings for the third quarter ended September 30, this year. The figure, N37.89 billion, is an improvement on N32.57 billion recorded in the same period last year.
The bank’s nine-month figure was driven by a 20.12 per cent and 16.79 per cent growth in interest, income, fees and commission respectively.
Its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Segun Oloketuyi, said the lender’s third quarter result showed modest improvement in operating indices, despite the slowdown in the operating environment.
He also gave further insight into the numbers, adding that the domestic environment remained largely strained, as the country’s August 2016 manufacturing and non- manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data continued to show underperformance(s) at 42.1 index points and 43.7 index points respectively.
He said inflation maintained an upward trend from 17.6 per cent (August 2016) to 17.9 per cent (September 2016), though at a slower pace (May to September 2016), as rising interest rate and foreign exchange illiquidity continue to impact prices.
“Despite the harsh operating environment, Wema Bank continues to record growth, as gross earnings increased by 16.36 per cent to N37.89 billion from N32.57 billion in the same period last year. The bank optimised its balance sheet, as loans to customers rose by 20.78 per cent to N177.01 billion with interest income expanding by 20.12 per cent to N31.93 billion compared to last year while fees and commission increased by 16.79 per cent to N4.41 billion,” he said.
According to Oloketuyi, the bank maintained its commitment to innovation, introducing *945# and other digital initiatives.
“These efforts continue to engender confidence with our customers, leading to a growth in savings deposits by 18.10 per cent from N35.58 billion as at December 2015 to N42.02 billion as at the end of the period. The streamlining of our processes and the leverage on technology, led to improving efficiencies and cost optimisation, with operating expense declining by 1.77 per cent year-on-year from N17.49 billion in September 2015 to N17.18 billion in September 2016 compared to a general inflation level of 17.9 per cent.
“We will continue to seek opportunities to improve our cost-to-serve through alternative channels and continued strategic improvements of our business model without compromising our service quality,” he said.
Continuing, he said the bank’s prudent risk management model continued to enable us deal with the industry-wide spikes in loan defaults and attendant rise in Non-Performing Loans (NPL). He said the NPL ratio for the bank stood at 2.99 per cent as at third quarter 2016, which is below the regulatory threshold of five per cent. The coverage ratio for the Bank remained adequate at 124.82 per cent.
“Going into the final quarter of the year we do not envisage any material improvement in the operating environment. Rather, we expect the gains of the fiscal and monetary policies to impact between first quarter and second quarter of 2017,” he said.
“However, we believe we would close the year with improved performance. On the capital front, we are pleased to announce that we just concluded a Tier II capital raise of N20 billion. This will boost our Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), currently at 13.36 per cent (pre-capital raise) and support our medium term growth
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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