Wema Bank Plc yesterday released its financial results for the half-year ended June 30, 2018, with Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N1.83 billion.

The figure represents 27.44 per cent rise from N1.43 billion earned in the first half of 2017.

The lender also reported a 5.12 per cent growth in gross earnings, driven by 0.12 percent and 30.45 per cent growth in interest and non-interest income.

The bank was also awarded the Best Digital Bank in Africa at the 2018 Asian Banker Awards and secured $15 million and N7.3 billion lines of credit from African Development Bank and Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).

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Wema Bank’s Acting Managing Director/CEO, Ademola Adebise said the performance was largely in line with expectations.

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Deposit grew by 39 per cent to N354.88 billion on the back of continued acceptance of the Wema brand and the sustained success of ALAT – its flagship Digital Bank. “Our gross earnings increased by 5.12 per cent from N30.37 billion first half of 2017 to N31.93 billion first half of 2018, while Profit before tax closed 27.44 per cent higher at N1.83 billion”.

Adebise said the lender continues to execute its five-year retail strategy with a clear mandate to improve performance by leveraging innovation. “The emphasis for us is not just to digitize our product offerings to customers but also to build a technology-driven back-end infrastructure to further improve on turnaround time and efficiency,” he said.

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The bank also continues to improve its customer acquisition through the launch of ALAT and the impressive performance of its USSD platform (*945#). The bank recorded significant growth in Agency Banking partnerships, with the number of agents increasing by 25 per cent to 845 agents as at first half across all the 36 states of Nigeria. The bank will further leverage on its platforms and inbuilt capabilities in lowering cost to serve and growing market share.

During the period, 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. This is further in-line with the Bank’s intent of obtaining long-term funding to drive its SME business.

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The Bank is also expected to open the second tranche of its Debt issuance program in a few weeks. With these half-year results, we believe we are on track to deliver on our commitments to shareholders at the beginning of the year.

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