Wema Bank Pushes For National Bank Status, Seeks To Capture South East

0
Wema Bank Pushes For National Bank Status, Seeks To Capture South East
Wema Bank Pushes For National Bank Status, Seeks To Capture South East

Wema Bank Plc’s managing director and CEO, Moruf Oseni, has stated that the bank will continue to operate under its national banking licence after the recapitalization deadline passes in 2026.

He informed shareholders during the annual general meeting that the bank would not be returning to its regional banking licence. Oseni emphasised that the bank’s next big challenge will be raising money and winning over shareholders.

Oseni stated that, “Capital raise is a major one in front of us, but please be rest assured that your bank will do all we can to get the funds in. And in two years’ time, come 2026, Wema Bank will remain a national bank. We have no plans of going back to regional banking.”

Remember that Wema Bank was forced to modify its licence to a regional banking licence during the 2008–2009 financial crisis, which limited the bank’s ability to operate in a maximum of 12 states. This was a calculated strategic move. The bank raised sufficient funds to elevate its license to one of national authorization at 2015.

Capital of Wema Bank

With its current paid-up share capital of approximately N15.1 billion, Wema Bank needs to raise approximately N184.1 billion to satisfy the N200 billion minimum capital needed to obtain a national banking licence. In December 2023, the bank held a rights issuance that raised roughly N40 billion. It is anticipated that the bank’s required capital raising will decrease to N144.9 billion when this amount is included in its share capital.

Though the bank is looking to raise N200 billion through rights issue and other means as it looks to issue new 37.14 billion shares.

We Will Plant Branches in South East

Moruf Oseni was questioned about the lack of Wema Bank branches in the Southeast during the AGM. In response to the inquiry, he also mentioned that the bank is currently making preparations to expand its branch network around the nation.

Oseni stated that the bank’s goal was to open branches in each of Nigeria’s state capitals. He emphasised that the bank’s projected growth into other states throughout the nation is expected to be aided by the employment of Segun Opeke, a former executive director in charge of Polaris Bank’s operations in Lagos.

Continuing, he stated “We will situate branches where it is necessary, and where there is business. I have no doubt that there’s good business in the South-East. We have a new Executive Director in force right now.”

“Just watch this space, we will situate branches in that axis. There’s no doubt that to be a national bank, the aim at least is to have a branch in every capital of Nigeria,” he added.

On banking and finance news, Wema Bank Plc now operates 149 branches in 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria, with no Wema Bank branches in 17 states. The bank only has branches in Bauchi State in the North East, and it does not have any locations in any of the five states in the South East.

Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, FCT, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Cross River, Nasarawa, Kano, Bauchi, and Kwara states are among the states where Wema Bank has branches. The supremacy of Wema Bank in the South-West Wema Bank was founded in 1945, which explains why the majority of its operations are based in the South-West.

Wema Bank’s Dominance In The South-West

Wema Bank was founded in 1945, which explains why the majority of its operations are based in the South-West. Originally known as “Agbonmagbe Bank Limited,” the bank primarily served the communities of Sagamu, Abeokuta, and Ijebu-Igbo, which are now parts of Ogun State.

After being purchased by the Western Nigeria Marketing Board in 1969, the bank changed its name to Wema Bank. Prior to its 1990 listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the bank’s operations were primarily restricted to the Western area of Nigeria.

However, the CBN granted the bank a universal banking licence in 2001; however, in 2009, the firm was forced to return to a regional banking licence.