By Dipo Olowookere
Wema Bank Plc on Friday, announced its unaudited first quarter financial results, recording a 5.02% growth in earnings for Q1’2018 to N16.07 billion, from N15.28 billion in Q1’2017.
This growth by the pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank ALAT, was supported by a 21.07% growth in non-interest income to N3.43 billion (Q1’2017; N2.83 billion), led by a 424.77% growth in net trading income. Profit before Tax (PBT) grew to N0.88 billion (Q1’2017; N0.85 billion), notwithstanding the increase in impairment charges for the period.
The Bank also achieved a deposit growth of 20.29% to N306.09 billion (Dec. 2017; N254.46 billion) while interest expense declined by 1.92% from N8.47 billion in Q1’2017 to N8.31 billion in Q1’2018, resulting from the re-pricing of deposits and low-cost funding from increased accounts openings.
The Bank’s digital journey elicits excitement and accolades from many corners as the Bank was named the Best Digital Bank in Africa at the 2018 Asian Bankers Award.
The Bank also recorded significant growth in partnerships, particularly in Agency Banking. As at March 2018, the number of agents had increased by 126.52% across 95 locations within the country.
“We remain focused, leveraging our existing platforms and in-built capabilities in lowering our cost of service and growing our share of the market,” Mr Segun Oloketuyi, MD/CEO of Wema Bank, explained.
“As the domestic economy improves, though fraught with global uncertainties, we recognize opportunities amongst key sectors,” he added.
As a result, the Bank secured credit lines of $15 million and N7.3 billion from the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) respectively. These funds will help bolster the Bank’s strategic vision of supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) being the panacea to long-term economic growth.
Mr Oloketuyi noted that though the bank would continue to develop tech-driven platforms and support digital initiatives that prioritize the needs of its customers, Wema would continue to employ a mixed strategy; complementing the rapid expansion of its branch network with an aggressive enhancement of the digital capabilities.
During the first quarter of 2018, the Bank expanded to the Southeast, opening its newest branch is Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.