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Herbert Wigwe-Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) 

Wigwe Drives Robust Strategy for Growth at Access Bank

Udo Onyeka:

• Herbert Wigwe

Since assuming the position of Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer(CEO)  at Access Bank Plc, in January 2014, Herbert Wigwe has been guided by a clear and consistent strategy that is supportive of long-term strategic vision to be the leading financial institution in Nigeria.

Having at the back of his mind that Access Bank’s business model has been carefully designed to create long-term value and shared prosperity for shareholders and other stakeholders, Wigwe  leverages core strengthen and expertise of abundant human resources in the bank to capitalize on growth opportunities available.

Wigwe’s constant focus on the   big picture has taken Access Bank to greater heights in spite of the country’s unfriendly business environment.

Access Bank declared N90.3 billion as its profit, according to the financial institution’s audited results for the full year ended December 31, 2016.

In the audited financial results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, the Bank reported strong sustainable growth across all its four business lines despite a weak and volatile macro-economic headwind.

The report said, the group posted total revenue of N381.3 billion and profit before tax of 90.3 billion, accounting for 13 per cent and 20 per cent increase respectively over the same period in 2015.

Key drivers of the growth include a 20 basis points margin expansion on the back of a 32 per cent year-on-year growth in net interest income of N139.1 billion. Non-interest income, the bank claimed, accounted for 49 per cent of growth in operating income of N272.6 billion compared to N234.8 billion in 2015.

Wigwe, commenting on the results said they demonstrate the effective execution of the bank’s strategy underpinned by a robust risk management frame work.

“With strong business fundamentals, our position in the top tier was further consolidated in the industry.

“The bank’s robust and proactive risk management practices and focus on high quality corporates ensured that the bank maintained an NPL ratio of 2.1 per cent; well below the industry average, whilst retaining a healthy balance sheet growth.

“We remain cautiously optimistic about the macroeconomic environment in 2017, nonetheless, our objective of delivering sustainable shareholder value remains unchanged,” the CEO said.

Also in its 2015 result, the bank’s performance was good as pre-tax profit rose by 44 per cent to N75.04 billion.

Some Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of Access Bank for the year ended December 31, 2015 showed considerable growth across the key indices.

Gross earnings rose by 37.5 per cent from N245.38 billion in 2014 to close at N337.40 billion in 2015. Interest income and non-interest income contributed 62 per cent and 38 per cent respectively to the group top-line. Interest income had grown by 17 per cent N207.8 billion in 2015 as against N176.9 billion in 2014, underlining improved income from lending activities and increased yield on investment securities.

Non-interest income jumped by 89 per cent to N129.4 billion as against N68.4 billion, a jump that that was attributed largely to strong gains on foreign exchange trading income, which reflects management’s ability to diversify the bank’s revenue sources.

The bank’s bottom-line showed impressive growth. Operating income rose by 39 per cent to N234.8 billion in 2015 as against N168.4 billion in 2014. Profit before tax grew by 44 per cent from N52.02 billion to N75.04 billion.

Profit after tax improved by 53.3 per cent to N65.9 billion in 2015 as against N42.98 billion in 2014. Earnings per share thus improved from N1.85 in 2014 to N2.62 in 2015.

Return on average equity (ROAE) improved to 20.4 per cent in 2015 as against 16.5 per cent in 2014.

According to him the lender would continue to maintain proactive and disciplined risk management practices and leadership in sustainability initiatives, whilst positioning strategically to take the lead in the sector.

Under Wigwe, the bank operation has expanded with 371 branches and service outlets located in major centres across Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom with representative offices in China and the UAE.

The bank’s support for Developmental Projects, since Wigwe came on board  has never been in doubt.

According to him supporting developmental projects is part of Access Bank’s strategic objectives towards Nigeria’s economic development and wealth creation.

Considering his contributions the bank’s growth and development, it was not surprising  he was recently voted the Most Reputable Nigerian Bank CEO in the latest ranking poll of Reputation Management Agency, Reputation Poll, with leading PR and Rating Agency, Avance Media, and the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Wigwe beat off competition from 19 other CEOs of commercial banks in Nigeria in a public poll.

He spent over 10 years at Guaranty Trust Bank where he managed several portfolios including financial institutions, Corporates and Multinationals.

He left Guaranty Trust as an Executive Director to co-lead the transformation of Access Bank Plc in March 2002 as Deputy Managing Director. He was appointed Group Managing Director/CEO effective January 1, 2014.

He is an Alumnus of Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme.

He holds a Masters degree in Banking and International Finance from the University College of North Wales; a Masters degree in Financial Economics from the University of London and a B.Sc. degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Mr Wigwe is the Chairman of The Access Bank (UK) Ltd  and Interim Chairman of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc.

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