Wema Bank — how to get an SME business loan or financing

Wema Bank offers a range of business funding options — that can help get your business ahead.

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Wema Bank is a Nigerian financial services institution — with headquarters in Lagos Island.

The bank was established in 1945, as Agbonmagbe Bank Limited, and as such is Nigeria’s oldest surviving indigenous bank.

Through its over 150 business offices and digital platforms, Wema provides retail, SME, trade, treasury, business advisory and corporate banking services — to millions of people across the country.

Funding and types of business loans available through Wema Bank

Overdraft

Through this Wema Bank facility, your company can draw an agreed amount of funds — in excess of the credit balance in your business bank account. The tenor of any borrowing usually does not exceed 12 months. An overdraft is perfect for financing short-term shortages in working capital — for instance when you have unexpected expenses.

Term Loans

Wema Bank provides term loans — suitable for things like financing asset acquisition, and general business capacity expansion. Repayments are tailored to your needs, and are in line with your business turnover. Short (1 year), medium (1-5 years) and long term (above 5 years) loans are available. A moratorium period may be offered.

Import Finance Facility

Import finance is a form of trade financing. Here, a loan is granted for the importation of raw materials, finished goods and more. Other products obtainable, as part of this facility, include bills for collection and letters of credit — both of which aid you in making payment for imports.

Bonds and Guarantees

Wema Bank provides bank guarantee services — to both domestic and foreign parties. Use such bank guarantees to demonstrate your creditworthiness, and your ability to meet any contractual obligations.

Lease Finance Facility

Lease financing is a way for your business to acquire assets. Examples of assets you can acquire through this facility include cars, trucks, generators etc. There are two types of leasing — namely finance leases and operating leases. Most leases work in a similar way, where the bank acquires the asset on your behalf — in return for regular lease payments.

Agric Finance

Wema Bank can provide you with an agricultural production loan — for inputs like fertilizers and seeds. Production loans can also be used as a form of working capital finance. Other products offered include farm development finance and agricultural finance leases. Agricultural funding can only be provided to entities engaged in — producing, processing, packaging and marketing their own agricultural produce. In other words, traders or intermediaries are not eligible for this credit facility.

Qualifying for a Wema Bank business loan

Wema Bank has multiple business loan products available. However, not every one of these products would be suitable for your business. In addition, each product tends to come with its own specific lending requirements. Despite this, there are some general lending criteria — that apply regardless of the finance product of interest.

To qualify for almost any business loan, with not just Wema but all banks in Nigeria, your business must be profitable. Your company must generate regular cash flows — with which you would realistically be able to repay any borrowed money.

Having a good credit history is also an important factor. It would be difficult to access a loan from Wema — when you have a history of not meeting your prior debt obligations.

Having said this, getting a secured loan is possible — even with a poor credit history. In this case, the collateral you offer plays a slightly more important role.

Other general business lending requirements may (but not always) include:

  • Having a registered business or company — with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
  • Having a business or corporate bank account
  • Been trading for some time (1-3 years minimum)
  • Must have a good Credit Bureau Report — with no unpaid obligations or bad debt
  • Being an active customer of the bank

Wema Bank business loans and other types of business funding — are not available to private individuals or unregistered businesses. In other words, your company must be registered with the CAC to get business financing.

For those unable to directly get a loan under their own company, getting a personal loan is another option. Wema has a few personal loan and salary advance products, that may be suitable for business purposes.

A further option, is to apply for finance with SukFin — who are able to provide a range of alternative funding solutions.

How to apply for a Wema Bank business loan

When applying for a Wema Bank loan, it is recommended that you first research the different financing products on offer. Doing research ensures you only apply for a loan, when you have a realistic chance of being approved.

To actually make a loan application, you would normally need to visit your nearest Wema Bank branch. At the branch, you will usually discuss your requirements with a loan officer — who will subsequently give you an application form to fill in. The form will ask for details on your business, its trading history and the purpose of the loan.

The information you provide on the application form, and any relevant supporting documentation asked for — provides the basis for Wema reaching a lending decision.

Loan approval, will come with you being given an offer letter. Offer letters stipulate any terms and conditions, that must be met, before funds can be released.

Supporting documentation that may be asked for, as part of any application, can include:

  • Completed application form
  • Company profile
  • Business plan
  • Cash flow budget
  • Bank statements (12 months)
  • Audited financial accounts
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Valid means of identification (driving license, passport, voters card)
  • Proof of address
  • Details of collateral offered (if any)

The actual documentation you will need to provide — is based on the credit facility in question.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long will it take before receiving funds from Wema Bank?

When small amounts of money are requested — funds are disbursed relatively quickly. The specific loan product applied for, also influences loan disbursement time.

How long do I have to pay back a Wema Bank loan?

Wema Bank repayment structures are flexible. You can get funds for both the short and long-term.

How much can I borrow from Wema Bank?

The amount of money your business generates — mostly determines how much money Wema will lend to you. The bigger your net income, the more money the bank will allow you to borrow.

What is the interest rate charged on a Wema Bank loan?

Wema Bank interest rates vary. Any actual borrowing rates are based on your trading history, and the finance product in question.

Does Wema Bank require collateral?

Wema typically does require collateral — for most finance products. However, this is not always the case — due to the bank’s ability to provide tailored funding solutions.

Examples of collateral that may be acceptable includes:

  • Obligations of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN Bonds, FGN Eurobonds, FGN Treasury Bills etc.)
  • Obligations of state governments or agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria
  • Other non-government debt instruments
  • Physical assets e.g. real property
  • Third party guarantors (or collateral)

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