By Chioma Obinagwam
Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, has affirmed the Long-term National Rating (Wema) at (BBB-) to reflect the improvement in creditworthiness over time relative to the best credits in Nigeria.
In Fitch’s opinion, the banking industry will remain challenging considering volatile and low oil prices, continued disruptions in oil production and constraints regarding the FX liquidity. As such, the industry could witness a rise in NPL ratios, though strong capital ratios helped absorb the one-off negative FX shock.
Furthermore, the FX devaluation could impact consumer demand. However, Wema’s Viability Rating (VR) is affirmed, as such, the Stable Outlook.
The Long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) of Wema remains on Stable Outlook as the rating is driven by its Viability Ratings (VR) and there is no expectation of any material change in the Bank’s intrinsic creditworthiness.
Wema Bank’s strengths, which underpin its long- and short-term ratings, include its strong risk management culture, low NPL exposure and good liquidity levels. The bank’s affirmed rating further reinforces its resolve to remain a smarter and efficient Bank.
Segun Oloketuyi, the Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc, stated that the rating is an affirmation of the Bank’s transformation and its positioning as one of the major players within the Nigerian Retail Banking Landscape.