Rwanda : I&M Bank take 80% shares in BCR

The entry of Kenyan based bank I&M in the Rwandan banking sector will see a boost in use of state of the art technology especially in electronic and mobile banking, and enhancement of use of ATM in Rwanda.

The I&M bank officials and its partners, Proparco and DEG development finance institutions, on July 18 bought majority (80%) after a private equity firm Actis announced the sale of its 80 per cent shareholding in Banque Commercial du Rwanda (BCR).

According to I&M bank Executive Director, Sarit S. Raja Shah, Rwanda was an obvious choice and the bank has been hunting for an opportunity to enter the market.

“We have always wanted to come to Rwanda and invest here, so we could not hesitate once the opportunity manifested, Rwanda is an attractive destination for investment and we are impressed with the government’s policies and vision for economic growth” he said

He also revealed that the bank has a need and desire for regional expansion in Africa and Rwanda was our first stop. I &M has already established branches in Tanzania and Mauritius.

The Governor of Rwanda Central Bank, Ambassador Pierre Claver Gatete- who was present for the announcement and shared the government’s stern approach to the buyout, said that I&M was a credible bank that would bring important change to the Rwandan banking sector.

“Apart from the shares and investment capital, the government has seen the commitment of this bank in transforming the sector. The government has engaged I&M, and it is evident that through research, I&M will provide protection of Rwandan shareholders and improve the use of technology in banking.

BCR’s Bill Irwin will remain in his position as chairman of the board and BCR’s image and branding will remain the same. “The BCR brand is valuable and well respected in this country. It will be staying and the BCR corporate entity will remain as well,” Irwin said.

BCR Managing Director of BCR, Sanjeev Anand, said that the merger is the natural next step in BCR’s journey to becoming a leading East African financial institution and this will elevate the quality of our products and services for the bank’s clientele.

I&M was established in 1974 as a community financial institution, and has since grown into a commercial bank, with a presence in three countries, a work force of over 860 staff, and 19 branches in Kenya alone. The bank has a profit before tax of US $58.3 million and is ranked 6th by the 2011 Banking Survey out of Kenya’s 43 banks.

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