Wema Bank threatens legal action over licence revocation claims

Wema Bank has said that it will take legal action over reports that its banking license is going to be revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The bank said this on Tuesday in a statement issued by its Head of Brands and Marketing Communications, Mabel Adeteye, where it maintained that its performance in the past years and the first quarter of 2024 pointed to its financial strength despite the challenging operating environment.

Following the revocation of the license of Heritage Bank on June 2, there have been claims that the apex bank is going to revoke more licenses.

A claim that the CBN had repeatedly denied and reiterated the stability of the country’s financial sector.

A WhatsApp message alleging that some commercial banks were at risk of losing their banking license, including Wema Bank, one of the affected banks, has also gone viral.

Wema Bank asserted, “We categorically confirm that this claim is false and contrary to the reality of Wema Bank’s financial strength. Wema Bank is in sound financial health and at no risk of license seizure or closure. Our financial performance showcases financial strength and stability, as validated by stakeholders and auditors at our 2023 annual general meeting, a feat we have achieved despite Nigeria’s economic fluctuations.

“In addition, we are moving ahead to meet the N200bn minimum capital requirement stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria for a commercial bank license with national authorization. We have raised an additional N40bn in fresh capital over the past months and are on the path to meet the target within 18 months.”

“With confidence in our financial standing and stable outlook, we have petitioned the security officials and will be taking legal action against the perpetrator(s) of this libellous statement. Wema Bank is firm in its commitment to providing optimum returns for every stakeholder, and we will not condone the circulation of false information that could potentially cause panic in the country.

“As we follow through with stringent measures to hold the creators(s) of this allegation accountable, we take this moment to categorically confirm categorically that Wema Bank is well equipped to continue serving our customers as a commercial bank with national banking authorization, keep up the positive trends as we expand our reach and continue to provide all our shareholders and stakeholders with optimum returns,” a report in The Punch qioted the bank to have said.

In its 2023 annual reports, Wema Bank’s profit before tax increased by 196 percent from N14.75 billion to N43.59 billion and by 70.63 percent in gross earnings from N132.30 billion to N225.75 billion.

At the end of the year, its non-performing loan rate stood at 4.31 percent, below the five percent prudential benchmark.

Days ago, Pan-African rating agency Agusto & Co. upgraded the bank’s rating to BBB+ with an ESG score of 2 and confirmation of a stable outlook.

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