With the growing face of competitiveness and many luring offers by different financial institutions in the Country today, it takes the ingenuity and resourcefulness of each institution to remain relevant to its customers.
The development of the Nigerian economy has not been stable over the years. Due to this, the country’s economy has gone through different turbulence, which has affected many financial institutions in the country. The turbulence has affected many customers, bringing shocks and disturbances both internally and externally over the decades to teeming customers of different banks affected by these turbulent times.
It is worthy of note that the unstable investment patterns as well as the improper implementation of public policies and changes in future expectations are some of the factors responsible for the fall of some of these financial institutions, whom customers never suspected would develop issues in their years of existence.
Also, some external factors such as population growth rates, migration, technological savviness and changes as well as the openness of the country’s Nigerian economy are some of the factors responsible for the fall of these institutions.
The efficient channelling of funds and allocation of financial resources are roles expected to be undertaken in the financial system to facilitate productive growth in the real sector of the economy. There have been overlapping roles in the Nigerian financial system and this has resulted in inefficient intermediation and under-development of vibrant sectors of the economy.
Thus, this gave birth to development financial institutions to render services to the large un-catered economic agents, especially in the rural areas by the banks. The institutions offer specialized and micro financial services, offer relatively cheap and accessible financing options, provide long-term finance for infrastructure development, industrial growth, agriculture, small and medium enterprises (SME) development and provide financial products for certain sections of the people.
These services are designed to meet the urgent banking needs of teeming customers of these financial institutions and business dealings with financial and monetary transactions such as deposits, loans, investments and currency exchange. Also, these financial institutions encompass a broad range of business operations within the financial services sector including banks, trust companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms, and investment dealers. Virtually everyone living in a developed economy has an ongoing or at least periodic need for the services of financial institutions.
Wema bank has remained relevant in the provision of these services and has constantly moved with the tides of time, despite its nomenclature of being an old generational bank. Its teeming customers have expressed happiness that the bank has stayed ahead of the curve through its technology-led investments: Wema ALAT.
Wema ALAT is Nigeria’s First Fully Digital Bank which has continued to yield results. He stated that plans were in place to continue strong growth in customer acquisition and retention through ALAT in 2020 despite the economic headwinds.
ALAT By Wema saves time with a simple account opening process. It helps customers put money away easily by automating their savings. It will make sure your bills are paid on time with its scheduled payments feature. Its high technology features allows customers to withdraw money from their ALAT account through an ATM without using their debit cards.
Under the leadership of a competent and savvy Managing Director, Mr. Ademola Adebise, Wema Bank has ushered in an exciting new future for the bank and its customers, through an innovation called “Wema Alat”, an innovative programme by the Bank which allows customers to get loans of up to Four Million Naira, with a payback period of six to twenty-four months.
Launched on May 2, 2017 by Nigeria’s foremost commercial institution, Wema Bank Plc. ALAT was designed to cater for the needs of today’s (digital) customers who are in dire need of a bank that understands and suits their lifestyle with respect to value for time, money and responsiveness.
The bank’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr. Tunde Mabawonku, confirmed that the loan programme allows customers to pay 2% interest per month. To complete your sign up, type in your email address, set a new password (a good password is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols), pick a security question and provide an answer you’ll remember easily. That’s it! Congratulations, you can now use your ALAT account.
There is no gainsaying that the bank has recorded significant growth in recent times. For instance, the bank posted significant growth in its 2019 performance with an increase in the bank’s interest income and non-interest income from the previous year by 23% and 74% respectively.
“The non-interest income growth was driven by a 22.9% growth in Net Fees and Commission due to increased volume of transactions across various electronic channels (ATM’s, POS, Mobile Banking, Electronic Banking).”
Little wonder Wema Bank’s Net Trading Income grew by “a whopping 167.45% from the previous year due to increased income on Treasury Bills.” Despite the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on various sectors of the economy, the disruption has had a positive impact on WEMA Bank more than others.”
Mr. Mabawonku once stated in an interview he granted that the bank is poised to achieve all its plans, one of which is making Wema Alat a stronger platform, where customers “cash-out” with so much ease.
Wema Bank has helped mitigate against the sore effects of the pandemic on its customers by putting in place a Business Continuity Plan, such as Wema Alat, designed to ensure that business operations are not severely impacted.
Mabawonku was quoted to have said, “The plan is focused on two pillars namely – Business continuity and safety of customers and staff,” he said.
While emphasizing the strong support Wema Bank has offered to customers by putting a moratorium on repayment of SME loans during the pandemic, the Bank is also adjusting to the new normal by putting frameworks in place to ensure its workforce is well equipped to function accordingly, while ensuring the safety of customers across all its physical touchpoints.
Olamide Adeniji is a public affairs analyst