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Wema Bank Continues to Sustain Growth

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  • Wema Bank Continues to Sustain Growth

There is no doubt that the Nigerian banking sector has been facing some challenges due to weakness in the country’s macroeconomic indices.

From a decline in the quality of assets in the industry, to rising non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio, decline in core liquid assets, among others, some banks have been struggling to weather the storm.

Fitch Ratings recently noted that 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.

However, the rating agency affirmed Wema Bank’s Long-term National Rating of Wema Bank at BBB-. This, the agency said was reflective of the bank’s stable outlook and continued viability, in spite of the challenging macro-economic environment. The Long-term IDR of Wema Bank also remained Stable at B-, as the rating was driven by the bank’s VR. It stated that it 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.

Managing Director of Wema Bank, Mr. Segun Oloketuyi, stated that the rating was an affirmation of the bank’s continued transformation, risk culture and positioning, as one of the major players within Nigeria’s retail banking landscape. He said the bank’s affirmed rating further reinforced its resolve to remain a smarter and efficient bank, driven by innovation and technology.

The Journey So Far

The bank celebrated its 71st anniversary in May this year. Established on May 2, 1945 as Agbonmagbe Bank, the financial institution has undergone rapid transformation. Widely reputed as the longest surviving and most resilient indigenous Nigerian bank, Wema Bank Plc has over the years, diligently offered a fully-fledged range of value-adding banking and financial advisory services to the Nigerian public.

Incorporated in 1945 as a Private Limited Liability Company (under the old name of Agbomagbe Bank Limited) and commencing banking operations in Nigeria the same year, Wema Bank later transformed into a Public Limited Company (PLC) in April 1987 and was listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in January 1990. On February 5, 2001, Wema Bank Plc was granted a universal banking licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), thus allowing it over the years to provide the Nigerian public with diverse financial and business advisory services.

Wema Bank after staying for seven years as a regional bank decided to upgrade to a national bank and has rising from a negative position, to a profitable financial institution, despite the challenges in the industry.

In its 2016 half year financials, Wema bank reported an 11 per cent rise in profit and a 15 per cent rise in turnover. The bank delivered an Interest income of N20.2 billion, a 15 per cent increase from N17.5 billion in the first half of 2015, while its fee and commission income also jumped by 42.3 per cent, from N2.2 billion in the first half of 2015 to N3.1 billion in the first half of 2016. The bank also recorded a 13.7 per cent growth in total assets, from N344.64 billion in the first half of 2015 to N391 billion in the first half of 2016. Furthermore, its operating expenses grew marginally by 2.7 per cent.

“Six years ago, we took a decision to refocus the bank’s operations on its areas of strength and build a sustainable institution. We took advantage of the new licensing regime and applied for a regional authorisation with a pledge to expand in the near future, once the turnaround project was completed.

“The bank’s transformation was implemented in three phases -first to stabilise the bank, second to prepare the building blocks for growth and third to go for growth. We are now within the third phase of the transformation project,” Oloketuyi explained.

He added: “The 2016 financial year has been characterised by deceleration on a number of economic indicators coupled with increasing energy costs, intensified by rising inflation, all within a tough operating environment.

“In spite of these challenges, Wema Bank has been able to deliver a modest improvement in the first half of the year. We commence the second half of the year with a sense of cautious optimism; well aware that the economic fundamentals point to an economy heading for further slowdown, yet hopeful that additional fiscal initiatives will be implemented to stimulate growth.”

Capital Raising

The bank receyelp raised N50 billion tier-2 capital, by issuing a bond. The first tranche was N20 billion and the second tranche was N30 billion.
“In recapitalising an institution, what you need to watch out is your optimum capital. Sometimes, if you make it all tier-1, it may not just be the optimal that you need. So, sometimes you also need to have some dose of tier-2.

“In 2009 when we took over, we had a distressed institution and all indices pointed to that direction. As at December 2009, the audited financial statement showed a negative capital of N45 million and the bank was totally on its knees. The share of market we had then was less 0.6 per cent. Equipment and processes and the platforms we were running were obsolete and the core banking application we had which is the platform we use to serve our customers, was old to the level that it couldn’t be supported by those who supported them.

“The non-performing loan ratio was 89 per cent and the performance of the bank was poor. So, we came in and said we need to have a containment strategy to stop the bleeding and stabilise the bank. So, between 2010 and 2014, was largely to give life back to the bank.

“A distressed bank needs to be turned around to a performing bank. Of course, you need capital for any business, more so for banking which is a regulated business. So, the first major assignment we did was to recapitalise the bank. Today we have been able to completely turn around the bank,” Oloketuyi explained.

Promoting Financial Inclusion

In its bid to promote financial include, Wema Bank in collaboration with Etisalat Nigeria recently collaborated to introduce the ‘WemaEasySavers,’ a tier-1 savings account, targeted at youths. The USSD based account is a seamless process where existing Etisalat customers can open instant account by dailing *945*10# and can be used instantly for transactions of up to N30,000 daily. However, it can be upgraded any time to other account types that give higher transaction limits.

Speaking at the launch, Oloketuyi said the initiative marked the beginning of greater things to come and greater services in Wema bank as the bank forges ahead with its growth strategy. He also said the bank has been stabilised and on the path of growth, and has invested a lot on technology which positioned it to receive this strategic partnership with Etisalat.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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333,000 Artisans: FG Commences One-Time Payment of N30,000

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MSME

FG Begins One-Time Payment of N30,000 to 333,000 Artisans

The Federal Government on Monday said it has commenced a one-time payment of N30,000 to 333,000 artisans under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund.

In a statement issued by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disbursements were being done to verified beneficiaries of the Artisan Support Scheme.

The statement read in part, “In the first stream of payments starting today, beneficiaries are being drawn from the FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta States. They form the first batch of applications for the scheme submitted between October 1 and October 10.

“The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a component of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, which was developed by an Economic Sustainability Committee established by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020.

“The President asked his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to head the committee which produced and is overseeing the implementation of the plan. “Under the ESP, the Survival Fund is generally designed to among other things, support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their different obligations and safeguard jobs in the sector.”

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Absorb Exited Npower Beneficiaries, N-power Youths Congress Tells FG

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Absorb Npower Beneficiaries of Batches A and B, N-power Youths Congress Tells FG

The N-power Youths Congress (NYC) has pleaded with the Federal Government to absorb the 500,000 exited Npower beneficiaries of Batches A and B and pay their outstanding allowances.

The National Coordinator, NYC, Comrade Joseph Enam Maga, stated this in Maiduguri during a press briefing held on Saturday at the NUJ Press Center.

He said thousands of exited beneficiaries are yet to be paid since the month of Match.

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to offset all the outstanding allowances of Batches A and B and create a permanent job for them.

He said “It is a fact undisputable that thousands of beneficiaries have not been paid since the month of March.

“Promises upon promises have been made on this, but yet no positive result has been recorded. Sometimes I wonder what it takes for the data base manager of Npower to rectify this! Something that can be rectified in a couple of hours has lasted for seven good months now.

“Worst still, this is happening within this period of hunger and starvation because of Pandemic. We call on the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management to be human enough to respond to our request and give prompt attention to them.

“We equally wish to bring to the notice of Mr. President that Batch B Beneficiaries have not received their devices as was promised and signed at the commencement of the program.

“It is very sad that up to the disengagement of Batch A and B, nobody has come out openly to tell us what happened to our devices.

The coordinator paused to ask why are Nigerian youths being treated like nobody in their country? What have we done to be neglected like this?

“When the Humanitarian Minister was asked why we were disengaged at this critical time in historical epoch that corona virus is terrorizing the whole world, she responded that we were disengaged because it’s a two years programe that we signed.

“Then comes the question: why did Batch A stayed 4years? And if we signed for two years contract that warranted our disengagement, didn’t we equally signed to be given a device that would help us in our different places of primary assignment and equally increase of knowledge? Please we need answers ma. We need answers.

“We, the 500,000 batches A and B of Npower beneficiaries are calling on our government to respond to our demand. We don’t want to believe that it’s only a state of violence anarchy and doom will make a sane government to listen to her Youth’s grievances.

“Look at the Endsars protest for instance, after many lives have been lost and properties destroyed, our government decided to speak up. Niger delta militants were attended to when they resort to arms.

“The insurgents were given amnesty because of their terrorism. But we the innocent 500,000 graduates have been innocently complaining to our government but they paid deaf ears. We are law abiding citizens and we will continue to be law abiding citizens.

“We want Mr. President to understand that a hungry man is an angry man. We have really endured a lot. We need a quick response to our requests. We can’t be used and dumped like refuse. We refused to be used and dumped”, the National Coordinator added.

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Airtel Africa Appoints Ms. Kelly Bayer Rosmarin as a Non-Executive Director

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Ms. Kelly Bayer Rosmarin

Airtel Africa has appointed Ms. Kelly Bayer Rosmarin as a non-executive director, effective from 27 October 2020.

In a statement released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s website, the telecommunication giant said Ms. Bayer Rosmarin’s “appointment is by nomination of the controlling shareholder pursuant to the terms of relationship agreement dated 17 June 2019 between the Company, Bharti Airtel, Airtel Africa Mauritius Limited, the majority shareholder and an indirect subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, and Bharti Telecom. Ms. Bayer Rosmarin will replace Arthur Lang who will step down as a non-executive director on the same date.

“Ms. Bayer Rosmarin is currently CEO of Singtel Optus and Consumer Australia. She was previously with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where she held several senior positions and varied portfolios, before being appointed as Group Executive of Institutional Banking and Markets. Ms Bayer Rosmarin is recognised for leveraging technology, data and analytics to develop leading customer services and experience. Ms. Bayer Rosmarin was named in the Top 10 Businesswomen in Australia and the Top 25 Women in Asia Pacific Finance and holds a variety of Board and advisory responsibilities.

“Ms. Bayer Rosmarin has, since February 2019, served as an Independent non-executive director on the Board of OpenPay, listed on the ASX. She will continue in that role. Openpay is a payments technology company based in Australia.”

Speaking on the change in the company’s director, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Airtel, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Arthur, who joined the Board in October 2018 and supported the company through its IPO, for his significant contribution to the success of our strategy to build Airtel Africa into a market leading mobile service provider and wish him well for the future.”

He further stated: “I am delighted that Kelly has agreed to join the Airtel Africa Board and we very much look forward to working closely with her”.

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