Mauritius’ SBM taps ex-KCB MD for Chase Bank

Mauritian lender SBM Holdings has tapped a former KCB Tanzania managing director, Moezz Mahmood Mir, to head its Kenya operations ahead of Friday’s formal takeover of the collapsed Chase Bank.

Mr Mir, who has also worked with Imperial Bank and First American Bank of Kenya, will be backed by executives head-hunted from top local rivals.

SBM, which a year ago acquired Fidelity Bank, is seeking to gain a foot-hold in the Kenyan market by consolidating Chase Bank operations in its books.

“He has successfully led business transition models, developing turnaround strategies that have led to optimised balance sheet management and revenue growths,” said the Mauritian government-backed lender in announcing Mr Mir’s appointment.

Jotham Mutoka, who is currently the acting chief executive officer of SBM Bank Kenya, will take on the role of deputy CEO and chief business development officer. Prior to the SBM post he was the East African Development Bank (EADB) country manager for Kenya.

SBM has also tapped a former Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY and Bank of Kigali executive, Allan Mwangi, who joined the bank last September as its chief compliance officer.

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Vast experience

“He brings to the bank vast experience in financial management, internal audit, risk management and compliance, with 22 years’ work experience largely in the financial services industry gained from working in senior management positions in Equity Bank, Bank of Kigali, Deloitte and Touche, Lonrho Africa Plc and ABN Amro Bank,” said SBM Holdings in a statement.

SBM Holdings said Arigala Smiles, who is currently the chief operating officer of SBM Bank Kenya, will continue to handle this function, the lender said.

Before joining SBM Bank Kenya, he worked as deputy CEO of I&M Bank in Tanzania.

The Mauritian lender has also retained former Chase Bank executives Debra Lindsay as head of Corporate Banking and Beth Thuo as head of consumer banking.

It said Sreenivasa T Rao has also joined the lender as Treasurer from State Bank of India. SBM, which earlier acquired full ownership of Kenya’s bottom-tier lender Fidelity Bank in 2016, plans to invest an additional $60 million (about Sh6 billion) in Chase Bank having already invested about $26 million (about Sh2.6 billion) in the lender.

Troubled Chase Bank

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) last month cleared the takeover of troubled Chase Bank by SBM, paving the way for depositors to start receiving cash from October.

SBM last April said it was ready to grant access to the remaining deposits once its acquisition of Chase Bank is cleared by the regulators.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) earlier said access to the deposits will be spread over a period of up to three years in a move seen as meant to stabilise the bank under its new owner.

SBM chairman Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing in April said the payout process would start in a maximum of six months.

“We need the approval of central bank (to make deposits available) …a minimum of four to six months,” he said.

The bank collapsed in 2016 while holding customer deposits of more than Sh100 billion, part of which was returned to small depositors when it was under the care of the CBK.

About 3,100 affected depositors will be seeking to access the cash locked up at the lender.

According to a schedule agreed to by the CBK and SBM, 25 per cent of the deposits will be available immediately Chase Bank starts operations under its new owner. No interest will be payable.

There will be unrestricted usage of another 25 per cent of the sums, which will be held in a savings account and earn interest at a rate of 6.65 per cent per annum.

The remaining money will be held in fixed deposit accounts, earning a similar interest rate, and will be paid out to depositors over three years.