Nigerian Lender Wema Bank Targets $3bn Capital Base

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Nigeria’s longest-serving indigenous bank, Wema Bank, has revealed that it plans to grow its base to N1 trillion ($2.7 billion), a move that will make it become a systemically important bank in Nigeria.

According to guidelines in Nigeria, a Bank with a balance sheet size of N1 trillion is considered a ‘systemically important bank’ by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is more closely protected against liquidation, given its importance to the industry’s short and long term stability.

Areas of interest to the bank include downstream oil and gas, specific agriculture value chain, and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) space, where it plans to churn out tailor-made products to meet customer needs.

Revealing more of the plans in Lagos, Tuesday, the bank’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ademola Adebise, told journalists specifically that by 2020, the management hopes to double key indices including assets, deposits, profits and more.

“Last year, saw the bank declaring dividend for the first time in 15 years. The last time was in the era of Mr Tunde Lemo, also a former CBN Deputy Governor. We see this as a demonstration of all the efforts of management over the last nine years, which culminated in the payment of dividend,” said  Ademola Adebise.

“From here, we intend to be a strong retail bank, leveraging technology and innovation. Also, the next two years, we will try to double our key indices including assets, deposits, profits etc, and to play big in the retail segment. At the end of the day by 2020, we would have doubled our numbers. By this, we would then embark on opportunities in M&A for inorganic growth.

“We have key sectors of the economy that we have mapped out to achieve this growth. Also, we are trying to ensure that we have well-trained and well-motivated staff that will also be well-remunerated.”
When noted that increasing adoption of technology may lead to the sacking of some staff, Adebise insisted that this is not necessarily so, because Wema Bank has what he describes as “a clear digital journey, which involves various business models.”

He argued that business models are changing on account of technology innovations, as such, companies must learn how to maximise these for value addition.

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