Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved a national licence request for Wema Bank Plc, an upgrade from its current regional banking mandate which hitherto limited its operations to the South-South and South West Nigeria, after complying with the requirements.
The bank had downscaled its operations within its core areas of business in 2010, under the former mandate. The current banking model recognises three categories of banks- regional, national and international classifications, mostly based on the recapitalisation strength.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Wema Bank, Segun Oloketuyi, had then explained that the decision to apply for a regional banking license was informed by the geographical concentration of its branches, not out of need for capital base nor imposed on the lender.
The bank in a statement, yesterday, affirmed that its capital base has now been shored up to N43.8 billion, meeting the regulatory requirements for the National Banking license as stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to Oloketuyi, this “approval represents a milestone for the bank in the delivery of its Project LEAP commitments. Six years ago, we took a decision to refocus the bank’s operations on its areas of strength and build a sustainable institution.
“We took advantage of the new licensing regime and applied for a regional authorization with a pledge to expand in the near future, once the turnaround project was completed. The bank’s transformation was implemented in three phases; first to stabilise it; second, to prepare the building blocks for growth; and third, to go for growth. We are now within the third phase of the transformation project”.
He pointed out that the new license has created opportunities to scale up growth, assuring that the bank will continue to strategically select its business locations across the country with focus on areas where returns on investment will be maximized, and shareholder value enhanced over the medium to long term.
“To ensure that this approval is leveraged appropriately, we are already in the process of raising $100 million in Tier 2 capital and would commence a Tier 1 capital raise in First quarter of 2016.
“This will further position the bank to pursue its growth strategy. The Bank remains on course in its turnaround program as evidenced by its robust balance sheet and sustained profitability, which would be maintained through its national authorization,” the bank chief noted.guardian.