Wema Bank Plc on Wednesday May 8, 2019, said as they go into 2019, it will renew focus on its retail business, chairman of the bank Babatunde Kasali disclosed this to shareholders, at the bank Annual General Meeting in Lagos. Just as shareholders approved 3 kobo dividend that was proposed after 14 years of dividend paucity.
According to him in 2018, the bank recorded growth in its retail deposit drive, as savings deposit grew by 26.2 percent from N49.83 billion in 2017 to N62.89 billion in 2018. While current account deposit grew by 46.80 percent from N12.47 billion in 2017 to N18.30 billion.
“We will deepen our focus on the commercial and corporate business while we introduce a renewed focus on our retail business. The above will help to continue to reinforce our commitment towards balance sheet optimization, efficient processes and operations as well as value creation for esteemed customers and shareholders”
The meeting afforded the board of directors and shareholders opportunity to deliberate on the bank audited financial statement and its operations for the period ended December 31, 2018 and areas which the bank needs to improve on.
Mr Kasali explained to shareholders that the bank aim is to scale up and improve market share through various initiatives. Adding that in 2018, the bank made significant strides in this direction. In his words “since 2016 our business has largely focused on four major areas namely innovation and technology, providing excellent customer services, effective risk management and broadening our national footprint to achieve our targets”.
He said ALAT, Nigeria’s first fully digital bank was borne of this renewed focus and in 2018, the bank continues to record significant growth especially around customers’ acquisition. A look at the bank 2018 audited financial shows that gross earnings was up by 9.6 percent from N65.27 billion in 2017 to N71.53 billion in 2018.
The bank during the period under consideration maintained its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) at 4.98 percent, which is below the regulatory limit of 5 percent. Meanwhile the bank in its first quarter unaudited account for the period ended March 31, 2019, grew its profit before tax by 50.6 percent and profit after tax by 49.6 percent.
Widely reputed as the longest surviving and most resilient indigenous bank in Nigeria, Incorporated in 1945 as a Private Limited Liability Company under the old name of Agbonmagbe 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 the Bank provide the Nigerian public with diverse financial and business advisory services.
However, in 2009, the Bank underwent a strategic repositioning exercise spearheaded by a new management team that has seen its profile rise considerably which finally culminated into its taking a sound strategic decision to operate as a commercial Bank with regional Scope in South-South Nigeria, South-West Nigeria, Lagos and Abuja in 2011. In 2015, the bank returned to being a national bank.
Photo Caption: Babatunde Kasali, Chairman of Wema Bank Plc.