Lagos - Wema Bank on Thursday said it had
been granted a national banking licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Wema Bank said in a statement in Lagos that the development
would upgrade it from its current regional bank status.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Wema Bank
downscaled to a regional bank in 2010 to operate only within core areas of
business in South-South, South-West and FCT Abuja.
The bank said it got the new licence because its capital
base currently stood at N43.8 billion and having met the regulatory
requirements for the national banking licence as stipulated by the CBN.
Its Managing Director, Mr Segun Oloketuyi, was quoted as
saying that: “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.
Also read: Banks caught defrauding customers billions
"We took advantage of the new licensing regime and
applied for a regional authorisation with a pledge to expand in the near future
once the turnaround project was completed."
Oleketuyi said that the bank’s transformation was
implemented in three phases to stabilise the bank, prepare the building blocks
for growth and to go for growth.
He said the bank was now within the third phase of the
The bank chief said that the new licence had created
opportunities to scale up growth, adding that the bank would continue to
strategically select its business locations across the country.
Oleketuyi also said that the bank would focus on areas where
return on investment would be maximised 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 dollars in
Tier 2 capital and would commence a Tier 1 capital raise in Q1 2016.
"This will further position the bank to pursue its
"The bank remains on course in its turnaround programme
as evidenced by its robust balance sheet and sustained profitability which
would be maintained through its national authorisation."
The bank boss expressed gratitude to stakeholders, stating
that the Wema’s transformation project had succeeded largely due to the great
support received from customers and shareholders.
“Our priority remains delivering delightful and memorable
service to our customers," Oloketuyi said.
The bank, in 2012, applied for a regional licence following
the reforms that outlawed universal banking.
The CBN later announced new minimum capital requirements for
a regional bank (N10 billion), national bank (N25 billion) and international
bank (N50 billion).
As regional bank, Wema Bank could only operate in a maximum
of 12 of Nigeria 36 states (bordering two neighbouring geo-political zones) and