Wema bank targets digital banking dominance, becomes first to position for E-naira – MD

Ademola Adebise, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank Plc, has announced plans of the bank to dominate the digital transaction space in the banking industry in the next three years, and as such strategies are already in place to realize the target.

The MD also said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has acknowledged Wema bank as the first in the industry to position for the e-naira, the new digital currency which the apex bank plans to roll out any moment.

Adebise said this at the maiden edition of the bank’s customer forum on Thursday in Abuja, organized to mark the customer week. The event provided an opportunity for the bank officials to interact with the customers, and work out ways to serve them better.

“Basically, we have been leading in the digital space. Over two years ago, we set up the digital bank in Nigeria called ALAT, today we have ALAT for businesses and individuals. The whole idea is that from your office or bedroom, you can do your banking business without any stress and that is what we commit to.”

He assured that the bank will continue to leverage technology to expand and become the topmost digital bank in Nigeria. “Digital is our DNA,” the MD told the customers.

Adebise further said the bank is working to support Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to run profitably amid the “harsh economic environment”, and has set up a free business school to enable them improve performance.

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Also speaking, Tunde Mabawonku, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Wema bank , noted that the bank which began operation in 1945 has moved from being one of the top 5 banks to the 12th or 13th bank in the industry today.

Mabawonku said the goal of the 76-year-old bank is to claw back its former glory – a feat which he said will be achieved by leveraging technology to dominate digital banking.

He said while other banks’ expansion strategy is through acquisition and opening of more branches, Wema bank will rely on its digital banking strength to climb back to the top.

“Our plan is to cover Nigeria differently in the next 3 years. Our strategy is to become the dominant digital bank whithin three years. A number of banks are scaling through acquisition, that’s an excellent strategy, but we want to expand leveraging technology.

According to him, with digital technology, the bank will cover Nigeria without building branches. “Our aspiration is to dominate the digital space. We want to be strategically important by transactions. So, when you go to the supermarket to pay, the user uses a WEMA card, When you go to supermarkets, we want to dominate the payment platform, POS. If you want to transfer money online, the back end will be running through WEMA bank ALAT digital entry or when you want to pay school fees, or book a ride,” he said.

“The idea is that we can be strategically important not just by opening branches but being embedded within the digital and technology space. Our aspiration over the next few years is digital dominance using technology,” CFO added.

Speaking further, the CFO said the bank’s balance has grown from N250 billion to N1trillion mark in deposits .

Emeka Obiagwu, the Executive Director, North and East Directorate, giving an overview of the bank’s business in Abuja, said the bank will be running mortgage schemes to help people own houses.

“We are concerned about the real estate sector, people need houses,” he said.

He further said the bank has made some giant achievements and won some awards
In 2020, he said WEMA bank bagged the BusinessDay SME bank for year and, KPMG customer survey rated Wema bank second best.

Obiagwu said the bank looks to win more awards.

One of the customers, Helen Uchechukwu, expressed satisfaction at being a member of the Wema Alat Family and lauded the forum. “Wema is a great bank. We are happy with the bank because of their support to us in realising our goals.”

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