Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah: The Billionaire Founder and Chairman of I&M Bank

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Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah: The Billionaire Founder and Chairman of I&M Bank
Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah the Billionaire Founder and Chairman of I&M Bank. |Photo| Courtesy|

Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah is the founder and immediate former chairman of I&M Bank. He is also the founder of Investments & Mortgages Bank Ltd., I&M Bank Foundation, Chairman of Investments & Mortgages Bank Ltd. and Chairman at GA Insurance Ltd.

Mr. Suresh retired as the chairman of I&M Bank in February 2021, but continues to remain on the Board as a Non-Executive Director.

He founded the bank in 1974 and managed to steer it into one of the largest banks in the country with and asset base of about Ksh305.08 billion as of 2021. During this tenure, the Bank has moved from a tier 3 Bank to a tier 1 Bank.

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Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah: The Billionaire Founder and Chairman of I&M Bank
Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah: The Billionaire Founder and Chairman of I&M Bank

Suresh owns a 10.98 per cent stake in the company, which translates to 178,514,362 ordinary shares. With I&M Bank shares trading at Ksh17.05 on Thursday, June 2, 2022, Suresh’s stake in the bank is valued at Ksh2.96 billion.

I&M Holdings Limited is a conglomerate comprising banks, an insurance company and investment advisory businesses. The group’s headquarters are located in Nairobi, Kenya, with subsidiaries in Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The flagship company of the group is I&M Bank Limited, with headquarters in the I&M Bank Tower on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi CBD. I&M Holdings is a result of a reverse merger between City Trust Limited and I&M Bank Limited.

I&M Bank was founded as Investments & Mortgages Limited, as a private company providing personalised financial services to business people in the Nairobi area. The firm converted to a commercial bank in 1996. In 2003, the bank acquired Biashara Bank of Kenya Limited thereby expanding its branch network, client base and assets under management.

In 2010, the group acquired a controlling interest in CF Union Bank of Tanzania, whose assets were estimated at about US$61 million in December 2009. In September that year, CF Union Bank Tanzania rebranded to I&M Bank (Tanzania). The group was reported to have intentions to expand throughout East Africa through acquisitions.

I&M Bank acquired a controlling interest in Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR), the second-largest commercial bank in the Republic of Rwanda in 2012.

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In 2013 BCR rebranded to I&M Bank (Rwanda), to reflect its current shareholding.

Achievements

In December 2002, Suresh was bestowed the honour of a Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear. He sits on the boards of several companies.

Philanthropy

Reflective of I&M Bank’s commitment to sustainable financing, the Bank through its Corporate Social Investments arm has over the years endeavoured to improve the quality
of life in our society, in its key focus areas namely: Education, Environment, Health and Community Service. As a partner of growth to all our stakeholders including the community, the Bank continued to share in its success through the following
initiatives:

Suresh Bhagwanji Raja (SBR) Shah: The Billionaire Founder and Chairman of I&M Bank
I&M Bank. |Courtesy| The Star|

Education

The Bank continued to drive various initiatives to help promote quality education, through partnerships with organizations that support education requirements for needy but bright
students across the country. These initiatives included scholarships, education infrastructure developments and refurbishments.

Commissioning of the St. Anns Suresh Raja Girls High School

The Bank successfully completed the construction of the St. Ann’s Suresh Raja Girls High School in Kairi. This Kshs. 200m investment was a worthwhile milestone that highlighted the Bank’s commitment in supporting initiatives aimed at promoting quality education.

This achievement also presented the opportunity to connect with the students not only through provision of education scholarships and learning infrastructure, but also through
mentorship programmes. The Bank further set up an academic prize of excellence in the Mathematics dubbed the Suresh Shah Prize. The school admitted its first class in 2018 and has a total of 42 students who joined Form 1.

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