By Goddy Egene
Wema Bank Plc has restated its commitment to innovative services with renewed focus on its strategic aspiration of becoming one of the leading retail bank in Nigeria.
Speaking at the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) last week, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank, Mr. Segun Olekotuyi, said given the challenging outlook for 2016, the bank has started the year with a renewed focus on its strategic aspiration of becoming a leading retail bank in Nigeria.
“The continued implementation of Project L.E.A.P- (the bank’s growth strategy), narrowed our focus and channeled our efforts towards specific opportunities with great potential and symbiotic relationships. This strategy, in its final phase, will continue to guide the Bank’s allocation of resources in 2016,” he said.
Speaking on the results of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2015, the MD said the bank delivered a 9.5 per cent growth in gross earnings driven by improved deposit liabilities.
This, according to him, was achieved through a well-structured risk management framework as demonstrated by non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 2.67 per cent and cost of risk below 1.0 per cent.
He commended the support of the shareholders and also highlighted some major achievements of the bank during the year.
“We appreciate the unique position of our shareholders and must confess that the bank’s 2015 performance has demonstrated its resilience and commitment to continuously deliver value to the stakeholders even in the face of obvious challenges,” he said.
He explained that the 2015 financial year was a particularly challenging one for the banking sector and economy as a whole.
“This was due to the impact of reduced Government spending, policy changes in foreign exchange administration, a depressed energy sector, declining manufacturing outputs and elements of insecurity, which have continued to take a toll on consumer spending and economic activities,” he said
He noted that despite these challenges the bank was able to sustain its transformation drive with total deposits for the period growing about 10 per cent over the prior year to N284.9 billion, gross earnings improving to N46.0 billion from N42.19 billion recorded in 2014, and closed the year with profit before tax remaining stable at N3.05 billion compared to N3.09bn in 2014.
Oloketuyi added that the bank also achieved several significant milestones during the financial year.
“Top of the list was the grant of a National banking license by the Central Bank of Nigeria, authorizing physical presence across the country. The bank celebrated its 70th anniversary with a brand repositioning exercise which saw it change some core brand elements, giving way to a more vibrant and dynamic look with an increased focus on service excellence. The bank was also awarded critical certifications of ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 and launched the Card control security feature on its mobile app – a first in the industry,” he said.