Wema Bank MD Explains Improved Performance

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* Appoints Kasali Chairman

The Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank Plc, Segun Oloketuyi, has attributed the impressive performance of the bank in 2016 to its improving brand acceptance and market penetration.

The bank grew its gross earnings by 18.6 per cent to N54.25 billion for the year ended December 31, 2016, from N45.79 billion in 2015. Profit after tax rose by 14 per cent from N2.27 billion to N2.59 billion in 2016.

Speaking at the annual general meeting (AGM) held in Lagos recently, Oloketuyi explained that despite the challenging economic environment in 2016, particularly in the banking industry, the bank benefited from its improving brand acceptance and market penetration.

“Sound risk management practices remain at the core of our business model. The bank was not immune to the impact of the economic slowdown, but a more prudent approach was taken, in providing for some loans.

“We closed with a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 5.07 per cent from 2.67 per cent in the prior year. In addition, our coverage ratio remains robust at 100 per cent with Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 11.07 per cent, which is above the regulatory minimum of 10 per cent,” he said.

He noted that funding remains at the core of the enterprise strategy. “We reported an encouraging growth rate in our retail deposit volumes. We also intensified and contracted a couple of partnerships during the year which have contributed in good measure to customer acquisition,” he added.

On the launch of Africa’s first fully Digital Bank, he explained: “We remain committed to leading and defining how the use of technology shapes the banking landscape in Nigeria and indeed Africa, with the introduction of our *945# banking code amongst other innovative service offerings. It is in this light and in our bid to offer our customers the best of ‘all worlds’, that I am pleased to announce that Wema Bank has launched ALAT, Africa’s first fully digital bank.”

Speaking on what to expect in the new financial year, Oloketuyi declared: “We expect the vestiges of the headwinds in the economy to remain in 2017. However, we remain optimistic about the Bank’s performance as we leverage on the continued growth of our digital and physical footprints to grow our market share and improve our returns to all stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, Wema Bank at the weekend announced the appointment of Mr. Babatunde Kasali, a non-executive director, as the new Chairman of its Board. Kasali, according to a statement, is a consummate professional with expertise in audit, risk management, compliance and retail banking, spanning over three decades.

He has served as General Manager and Regional Bank Head for United Bank for Africa Plc., a bank he joined in 1996. During his time at the bank, he held several positions such as Chief Inspector, Regional Director and Divisional Director.  He has also served as Managing Director of Resolution and Restructuring Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).

Kasali’s appointment followed the resignation of its previous Chairman, Mr. Adeyinka Asekun, from the Board following his nomination as an Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which has now been confirmed by the Senate.