GLOBAL Credit Rating (GCR), a leader in credit ratings and research has affirmed Wema Bank’s National Long term rating at (BBB-) despite the challenging macro-economic environment led by low and volatile oil prices, resulting to a more restrictive foreign exchange management policy and subdued economic environment.
In spite of the macro-economic challenges and speaking on the affirmation by GCR, the Management of Wema Bank, highlighted the increasing market penetration, continued brand acceptance and the resilience of the Bank, as the enablers for the rating. Furthermore, while maintaining their resolve to ensuring continued earnings growth – highlighted by continued improvements and gains recorded by the Bank, they noted the 17.56 per cent and 14.02 per cent growth in gross earnings and net earnings to N44.45 billion and N2.59 billion respectively in 2016.
As a forward looking financial institution, Wema Bank continues to take the necessary steps; remaining innovative, nimble and adaptive to the challenging economic environment with the intended launch of ALAT (the first full digital banking platform in Nigeria) in May 2017. It is expected that these activities will lead to increase in customer acquisition, particularly amongst the youth and young professionals even as retail deposits increased 18.92 per cent (Y-o-y) from N89.74 billion in 2015 to N106.71 billion in 2016.
Risk management, alongside balance sheet optimisation remains at the core of the Bank’s business model. This is reflective in both the Bank’s Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) for 2016 which was reported at 5.07 per cent, as against the industry average of 14 per cent as at December 2016. In 2017, we continue to re-affirm our strategy – Project LEAP, through continued streamlining of our processes, deployment of alternate platforms and strategic alliances.