'Wema Bank to Launch First Digital Banking'

Wema Bank, one of Nigeria’s oldest banks, says it will launch the first fully digitalised banking service in Africa in the first half of 2017.

A statement by the bank in Lagos on Tuesday quoted Mr Segun Oloketuyi, the bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, as announcing this while presenting the bank’s audited 2016 financial results.

Oloketuyi said the launch of the new service was intended to enhance the bank’s business model, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

According to him, the launch, which will change the banking landscape, will offer simple, convenient and reliable banking experience to members of the public.

Oloketuyi said that the bank remained committed to leading and defining how the use of technology could shape the banking landscape in Nigeria and indeed Africa.

He said that although 2016 was a challenging year given the spate of economic headwinds, the bank recorded double-digit growth in gross earnings.

“The earnings rose to 18.48 per cent from N45.79 billion to N54.25 billion driven by 18.61 per cent and 13.61 per cent increase in interest and non-interest incomes, respectively.

“The profit after tax also rose by 14.10 per cent higher at N2.59 billion compared to N2.27 billion in 2015,” he said.

Oloketuyi, however, said that the bank was not immune to the impact of the economic slowdown with a non-performing loan ratio of 5.07 per cent from 2.67 per cent in the prior year.

He said that the bank’s coverage ratio remained robust at 100 per cent with Capital Adequacy Ratio, at 11.07 per cent, was above the regulatory minimum of 10 per cent.

Oloketuyi said that as a financial institution built on public trust and sound risk management practices, the bank remained at the core of its business model.

According to him, the bank expects the vestiges of the headwinds in the economy to remain in 2017.

He assured of the bank’s better performance in 2017 as it would leverage on the continued growth of its digital and physical initiatives.