Wema Bank Plc reported it spent a total of N556.4 million on advertising in the first half of 2018 a 78% increase from the N311 million spent a year earlier. The bank has steadily increased its advertising spent since it launched its flagship digital online banking platform, ALAT.
In 2017, the bank spent a total of N1.21 billion on advertising and marketing about three times the N421 million spent in 2016. In total, the bank has now spent about N1.7 billion on advertising in the last 18 months. Wema Bank launched ALAT in May 2017 and since then the bank claims it has enrolled about 200,000 new customers, who have carried out almost 900,000 transactions totaling N12 billion.
ALAT by Wema Bank has led the way in the digital banking space in Nigeria and is available on the Google and AP store. According to data from the Google Playstore, ALAT has over 100,000 downloads same with the Wema Bank app owned by the parent company. Wema Bank embarked on a massive rebranding exercise in 2015, introducing a new logo and pledging to remain innovative. ALAT was its first major innovative products and since then the bank has spent billions on technology and promotional activities for the application.
In March the bank released two new features for ALAT that allows it to offer quick short-term loans and a virtual dollar card for paying online internationally. The ALAT Virtual Dollar Card is a non-physical, dollar-denominated debit card designed for online payments. Like ALAT Loans, the card is available to all the bank’s customers through its apps. The ALAT application was recently named ‘Best Digital Bank in Africa’ at the 2018 Asian Banker Awards
A recent Nairametrics article indicates Nigerian Tier 1 banks spent about N35.7 billion on advertising in the full year ended December 31st, 2017. This amount is slightly above the N31.1 billion spent for the same purpose in 2016. Wema Bank’s advertising spend is still significantly lower than that of other Tier 2 banks such as Diamond Bank and FCMB, who spent about N3.2 billion and N2.1 billion respectively on advertising and promotions.
Whilst most banks spent more than Wema Bank in absolute terms, the tier 2 bank dwarfed others in terms of year on year growth. For example, Diamond Bank slashed its spending on advertising by over 50% while Zenith Bank Plc, the highest spender, incurred N8.8 billion on advertising cost compared to N9.5 billion in 2016. GTB also slashed its advertising spend from N7.4 billion to N7 billion last year.
The FINTECH revolution in Nigeria has led the rave for faster, innovative mobile-driven financial inclusion. Several FINTECH applications have been launched over the last three years as developers look to leverage on the nearly over 100 million mobile phone users in Nigeria.
A recent Digital Trend report from Terragon Group indicates Nigeria is the most mobilized country in the world with most of the internet traffic coming from mobile devices. Banks are leveraging on the strength of this and churning out competing mobile banking applications to power mobile payments. ALAT is however, the first fully digital banking application.
Latest result from the bank for the period ended June 2018 showed net interest income of N9.09 billion for the period ended June 2018 compared to N8.48 billion reported for the period ended June 2017. This represents a 7% increase for the comparative period in 2017. Pre-tax profit was N1.81 billion for the period ended June 2018, a 27% increase from N1.43 billion reported for the period ended June 2017.