Wema Bank is the first bank to be owned completely by a Nigerian. It’s the only and longest surviving indigenous bank in Nigeria.
The bank was founded 77 years ago by Late Chief Matthew Adekoya Agbonmagbe Okupe.
It didn’t start as a bank at first, though. Chief Mathew started out as a famous government-approved money lender before he established the bank.
He started the bank in May 1945 after his business expanded beyond the status of a cottage money lender.
After obtaining a banking license, Chief Matthew registered the Wema Bank we know today, with the name “Agbonmagbe Bank”. The word “Agbonmagbe” loosely translates as “the source that never runs dry”
As the first indigenous bank in Nigeria, Agbonmagbe Bank had branches in Ebute Metta, Mushin, Ifo, Sagamu, Ago Iwoye, Ijebu Igbo and Zaria.
Agbonmagbe Bank became Wema Bank through acquisition by Wema Board in 1969. 18 years later in 1987, the bank went public as Wema Bank Plc.
Chief Matthew Agbonmagbe Okupe died on November 1, 1984 at the age of 86 years.
He had 10 wives and 40 children.