Nigeria economic, not yet uhuru, Wema Bank boss


… as bank opens new branch in Ilorin

By Joke Adeniyi-Jackson and Matthew Denis
In its bid to invigorate its brand, Wema Bank Plc opened a new branch at Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Ilorin Kwara State capital on Thursday.
The new branch is expected to further strengthen the lender’s business in Ilorin in accordance with its growth plan and  to boost the economy and draw nearer to the people.
Speaking during an interview with journalists, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer  of the bank, Mr. Ademola Adebise  said the development marked another milestone in the life of the bank that  berthed in the state in1991.
“We felt that it high time we have a more befitting structure. It is also in line with the aspiration to refresh the brand for the bank,” adding that effort is ongoing at expansion to other parts of the country.
He said,  ” We are reopening our branches in the north and as we speak now we have reopened not less than six branches in the north (Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Minna, Lokoja). We are planning also to go to places like Gombe, Adamawa as well. In the southeast we have two branches in Aba.
“One of the things we are also doing is about opening branches where the opportunities are. When we opened the Aba branch soon after we saw the need to reopen another branch . we are prospecting a location in Onitsha at the moment. We also have reopened our Branch in Enugu and of course our Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other mega cities we are reopening branches,” Adebise explained.
Reacting to a recent pronouncement by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele that Nigeria may slide into another recession if measures are not taken to tackle the high rate of unemployment and economic crisis.
He said  “It is important to put ourselves on guard and basically to ensure we discipline ourselves, tighten our belt because it is not Uhuru yet, we need to continue to tighten our belts so that we have an economy that is sustainable and resilient”
Adebise who agreed that there are tough times ahead, however, stressed the need for Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the economy to ensure fiscal discipline.
Towards having a strengthened economy, the MD stressed the need for the monetary and fiscal policies of the government to be in sync.
Adebise who disclosed that a lot of efforts had gone into stabilising the foreign exchange market and ensuring that the naira is stable lauded the second term granted the CBN Governor. He noted that this would go a long in creating some level of consistency in the economy.
On the future of banking in Nigeria, Adebise said any bank that wants to remain relevant in the scheme of things must go digital as the future of banking lies in the digital space.
He claimed that Wema Bank is the first digital bank in the country having launched its digital bank, ALAT two years ago. “At Wema Bank, the launch of Alat, the first fully-digital bank in the country, where account opening, card issuance, documentation, and transactions take place without any physical contact between the customer and the bank has remained a turning point in its digital banking journey,” he said.
Earlier, in his goodwill message on the occasion, the CEO/Chairman of Kam Holdings Ltd., Alhaji Kamoru Yusuf had described Wema Bank as a dependable ally of entrepreneurs. Also, a front line hotelier in Kwara state, Chief Emmanuel Ojo lauded the bank for its consistency in helping entrepreneurs realised their dreams.

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