Wema Bank Targets Eastern Commercial Hubs, Opens Aba Branch
By Dipo Olowookere
As part of its mission to spread its tentacles to the commercial hubs in the eastern part of Nigeria, Wema Bank, the pioneer of Nigeria’s first fully digital bank ALAT, has opened a new branch in Aba, Abia State.
The new branch is located at 103 Azikiwe Road, Aba, Abia State and is now open to customers for banking services.
Recall that in 2015, the apex regulatory agency in the banking sector in the country, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), granted a national licence to Wema Bank Plc.
Since then, the lender has worked tirelessly to strategically expand to the nooks and crannies of the nation.
Aba is the commercial capital of Abia State and one of the leading industrial cities in Eastern Nigeria and it plays host to a large number of international and local traders as well as lucrative small businesses and manufacturing establishments and sits strategically in the middle of the Eastern region.
The new branch will look to attract a significant share of this market segment as well as individuals and businesses from neighbouring cities within the region by offering a comprehensive range of banking services including deposits and loans, trade services, and payment, as well as cash management solutions. The branch also promises to offer customers the latest in banking technology through alternative channels offered by Wema Bank.
Wema Bank has also provided alternative channels to ensure those who are too busy to walk into the new branch can still bank with Wema using their electronic devices.
“Aba offers Wema Bank a strategic platform on which to grow our business in East,” Mr Wole Akinleye, an Executive Director, South Bank at Wema Bank said during the official opening ceremony. “We are committed to building a robust business offers the right mix of branch networks and digital channels which caters to all demographics within our target markets.”
One of these digital offerings is ALAT, the first fully digital bank in Nigeria. ALAT is a branchless, paperless bank which provides financial services through its Android, iOS and web applications. It was designed in response to the growing needs of Nigerians for a financial institution that understands their needs, responds quickly to them and helps them save money. It allows customers to open a fully-functional account, including completing KYC requirements directly from a mobile phone.
Once signed up, customers can request for their ALAT debit card, which will be delivered for free to a location of choice. ALAT offers customers 10% interest on their savings and allows them save together as a group, mimicking the local Esusu and AjỌ schemes. International purchase can also be done without a physical debit card using the ALAT virtual dollar card.
ALAT has been well-received since its launch in May 2017, with over 200,000 accounts opened and over N1.1 billion in deposits as at February 2018.
Beyond ALAT, the bank continues to champion innovation and leverage technology in breaking barriers plaguing conventional banking. It pioneered the use of card control in Nigeria, an in-app tool that allows customers lock their payment cards from a mobile device.
It also formed part of the pilot banks to successfully deploy M-cash, a mobile service that allows merchants receive payments by dialing a simply code. The Bank continues to improve on its *945# USSD Banking service and enhance its online and mobile banking apps to ensure it offers a seamless service across all its banking channels.
“ALAT is available for download on Google Play Store and Apple Store, while *945# works on all kinds of mobile phones,” said Funmilayo Falola, the Head of Brand and Marketing Communications at Wema Bank.