By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s longest surviving indigenous bank, Wema Bank Plc, has continued its expansion plan with the reopening of its branch in Minna, Niger State.
This comes barely a year after the bank obtained a national banking licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The reopened Wema Bank branch is precisely located at 35, Bosso Road, Minna, Niger State, and it is opened to new and existing customers.
“After Mr Segun Oloketuyi took over the management of Wema Bank in 2009, the first phase of his turnaround strategy was to scale down operations to the South West and South South regions,” explains Adeyemi Oshundiya, Regional Operations Executive, South West & Abuja at Wema Bank. “Minna branch was shut down as a result of this.”
“Now in the final phase of the turnaround plan, Wema Bank is stronger and poised for more growth, hence the opening of new branches and the reopening of some old branches.”
However, Oshundiya emphasizes that Wema Bank, in its quest for growth, will only expand to places where there are compelling business opportunities.
In its 2016 half year financials, Wema bank reported an 11 percent rise in profit and a 15 percent rise in turnover. Operating expenses only grew by 2.7%, a testament to the bank’s disciplined and innovative approach towards keeping cost of doing business low.
“The 2016 financial year has been characterized by deceleration on a number of economic indicators coupled with increasing energy costs, intensified by rising inflation, all within a tough operating environment,” said Mr Oloketuyi following the release of Wema Bank’s half year financials.
“In spite of these challenges, Wema Bank has been able to deliver a modest improvement in the first half of the year. We commence the second half of the year with a sense of cautious optimism; well aware that the economic fundamentals point to an economy heading for further slowdown, yet hopeful that additional fiscal initiatives will be implemented to stimulate growth,” he added.
While Wema Bank will continue its strategic physical expansion, the lender will also be playing a lot more in the digital space.
The bank’s growing E-banking platform includes a revamped, feature-loaded and constantly updated mobile banking application, innovative SMS and USSD Banking products (via *945#) which do not require token, mobile data or internet connection to complete transactions and an internet banking platform which gives users real-time access to their account from any internet-enabled computer or device.
Wema Bank was established in 1945, and offers a range of retail and SME banking, corporate banking, treasury, trade services and financial advisory to its customers.
In 2009, the Bank initiated a strategic repositioning exercise which culminated in a decision to operate as a commercial Bank with regional authorisation in South-South Nigeria, South-West Nigeria, Lagos and Abuja in 2011. Pursuant to meeting the Central Bank of Nigeria requirements, the Bank was granted a banking licence with National authorization in 2015.
Wema Bank operates a network of over 136 branches and service centres backed by a robust ICT platform across Nigeria.
More information can be found at http://www.wemabank.com