Nigerian lender Wema Bank plc is raising N35 billion ($219 million) to fund expansion from a regional to a national bank, said Kemi Aina, spokeswoman for the lender.
“We are already raising the money through a private placement that commenced last year and hope to conclude the exercise by April,” she said Friday by phone from Lagos, the commercial capital. “The money is needed to approach the central bank for a national banking licence.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced modified licensing rules as part of reforms after a debt crisis in 2009 brought the industry to the verge of collapse.
Lenders in Nigeria are either licensed as holding companies operating local and international units or as national and regional banks.
Wema Bank became a regional lender in 2011, complying with the CBN’s capital requirement of N10 billion and operating in six to 12 of the country’s 36 states.