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Wema Bank Threatens Legal Action Over Licence Revocation Claims

Wema Bank has announced its intention to pursue legal action in response to circulating reports suggesting that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is poised to revoke its banking licence.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the reports, which have gained traction on social media, particularly via a viral WhatsApp message, allege that Wema Bank, among others, is at risk of losing its licence.

In a statement released on Tuesday by Mabel Adeteye, Wema Bank’s Head of Brands and Marketing Communications, the bank firmly denied these claims. 

Adeteye emphasized that Wema Bank’s recent performance, including its financial results for the first quarter of 2024, demonstrates the institution’s robust financial health, despite the challenging operating environment.

The rumours follow closely on the heels of the CBN’s revocation of Heritage Bank’s licence on June 2, which has fueled speculation about the stability of other banks. 

The CBN has repeatedly denied these claims, affirming the stability of Nigeria’s financial sector.

Wema Bank’s statement categorically refuted the rumours, labelling them as false and unfounded.

 “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 licence seizure or closure,” Adeteye declared.

 She highlighted the bank’s strong financial performance, validated by stakeholders and auditors during its 2023 annual general meeting.

The bank also addressed its progress in meeting the CBN’s N200bn minimum capital requirement for a commercial bank license with national authorization. 

She added that over the past months, Wema Bank has raised an additional N40bn in fresh capital and is on track to meet the target within the next 18 months.

“We have petitioned the security officials and will be taking legal action on the perpetrator(s) of this libellous statement,” Adeteye continued. 

“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.”

Adeteye reaffirmed the bank’s financial stability, stating, “As we follow through with stringent measures to hold the creator(s) of this allegation accountable, we take this moment to 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.”

Wema Bank’s financial results for 2023 underscored its robust performance, with a profit before tax soaring by 196 percent from N14.75bn to N43.59bn. 

The bank also reported a 70.63 percent increase in gross earnings, from N132.30bn to N225.75bn. 

Furthermore, Wema Bank’s non-performing loan rate stood at 4.31 percent at the end of 2023, below the five percent prudential benchmark set by the CBN.

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