Wema Bank Plc has reaffirmed its commitment to sustain its financial growth through innovations.
The bank made this known at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, during which the financial report for the year ending December 31, 2017 was presented to shareholders.
The Bank used the platform to announce commitment to its attained growth phase, which is the final stage of its restructuring process that started in 2009. The innovative bank, which launched ALAT, Africa’s first fully digital bank, confirmed the growth of its gross earnings by 20.07%, from N54.36 billion in FY2016 to N65.27 billion in FY2017.
According to the Managing Director/ CEO, Mr Segun Oloketuyi, the growth was supported by the launch of ALAT Nigerias first fully digital Bank, enhancing Wema Banks already existing alternate platforms which recorded a combined growth rate of 205.67% in transactions executed and with an estimated 30,000 accounts opened monthly. We have made necessary steps to consolidate on the growth achieved in the new financial year.
He commended the shareholders for their understanding over the years and for seeing the bank through the first two restructuring phases of the bank. I would like to appreciate our esteemed shareholders for their patience and the trust reposed in us. We are now in the final stage of our three-pronged strategy; stabilise the bank (2009 2012), reposition the bank (2013-2017) and grow the Bank (2017 and beyond), He said.
Commenting on the financial year 2017 results, Mr Oloketuyi provided further insights into the performance of the Bank during the period. Despite the slow start to the year, 2017 recorded significant progress, highlighted by the introduction of the Investor & Exporters (I&E) window and recovery in oil prices, He noted.
In October, the Bank held its Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) towards its proposed Capital Reorganisation Scheme. The CEO announced that the exercise has been concluded. With all relevant regulatory approvals in place and duly passed and reflected in the 2017 financial year accounts, the conclusion of the exercise would now lead to an efficient balance sheet, as ploughed back profit can be capitalised to grow the business while positioning the Bank for dividend payment in the near term he explained.
On plans ahead of the new financial year, he informed the shareholders that We approached the money market in November 2017 to raise N25 billion in two Series under a commercial paper Program; Series 1 N10 billion 182-day tenor and Series 2: N15 billion- 270-day tenor. Given the relative decline in interest rates and possible growth within the economy, the Bank will be re-opening the 2nd series of its N50 billion debt issuance program. This should commence from the second quarter of the year.
On his part, the Chief Finance Officer, Tunde Mabawonku noted that, the Banks earnings from non-interest income remained strong, growing by 24.44% from N9.80 billion in 2016 to N12.19 billion in 2017; surpassing its 2017 guidance of a 19% growth rate.
The Bank closed with a Profit before Tax (PBT) of N3.01 billion (2016; N3.24 billion), despite reporting an increase in impairment charges which rose from N0.42 billion in 2016 to N2.18 billion in 2017.
According to him, Risk management remains at the core of our operations, as we leverage on our prudent risk management practices and reported a Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio of 3.52% (2016; 5.01%) while our Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), closed at 14.32% (2016; 11.07%). We remain confident, that the Banks credit rating will continue to remain affirmed at investment grade level, he said.