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Bhavsar Receives SBA Financial Services Champion Award

From left: Asif Dakri, CEO of Wallis State Bank; Rajiv Bhavsar, Sr. VP Commercial Lending Officer at WSB; and Timothy D. Jeffcoat, SBA District Director, Houston.

From left: Asif Dakri, CEO of Wallis State Bank; Rajiv Bhavsar, Sr. VP Commercial Lending Officer at WSB; and Timothy D. Jeffcoat, SBA District Director, Houston.

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: It was a proud day indeed, this past Thursday, May 11 for a hard working member of the Indian community who has not only been deeply involved with the India Culture Center twice as its president but also been a tireless organizer of events. And he has still found time to mentor and promote people who show promise of being future leaders and successful business owners.

From left: Niraj Bhavsar, Bipinchandra Bhavsar, Rajiv Bhavsar, Bela Bhavsar, Bachubhen Bhavsar, Rajni Bhavsar

From left: Niraj Bhavsar, Bipinchandra Bhavsar, Rajiv Bhavsar, Bela Bhavsar, Bachubhen Bhavsar, Rajni Bhavsar

And it was a proud moment for ten members of his company Wallis State Bank and the close knit group of ten people who have worked closely with him on community activities to be on hand to witness Rajiv Bhavsar receive the Financial Services Champion of the Year award from SCORE Houston, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration. The function was held over lunch for over 600 people at the Westin Houston Hotel in Memorial City.

Rajiv Bhavsar with directors of the India Culture Center, of which he has twice been the president. From left: Parul Fernades, Manoj Patel, Bharat Desai, Swapan Dhairyawan, Rajiv Bhavsar, Nisha Mirani, Charlie Patel, Ajit Patel and Manisha Gandhi. IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia is third from right.

Rajiv Bhavsar with directors of the India Culture Center, of which he has twice been the president. From left: Parul Fernades, Manoj Patel, Bharat Desai, Swapan Dhairyawan, Rajiv Bhavsar, Nisha Mirani, Charlie Patel, Ajit Patel and Manisha Gandhi. IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia is third from right.

Bhavsar, who hails from Bulsar, Gujarat (which is also the hometown of former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai), near Surat, has been a Houston native since 1991. Though he has a MS in Mathematics, he started his career in banking with United Bank, leaving it to join United Central Bank in Little India in 1999. He later joined Walls State Bank in 2011 and during the past six years has developed a loan portfolio of about $200 million, of which $150 are SBA loans.

From left: Rajni Bhavsar, Anju Mittal, Shiv Mittal, Rajiv Bhavsar, Mimanshi Bulsara, Niraj Bhavsar.

From left: Rajni Bhavsar, Anju Mittal, Shiv Mittal, Rajiv Bhavsar, Mimanshi Bulsara, Niraj Bhavsar.

During these past 25 years, he has also worked with other community members to develop a base of people who trust and value his skills and ability to deliver on his word. These traits helped him to become the president of the ICC twice and then launch into other community groups like International Hindi Association and Ibn Sina Foundation.

The SBA recognized his skill as a banker and relationship manager at Wallis State Bank as well as his community activism when giving him this award. “Rajiv has an outstanding record of working with customers and community members alike,” said Asif Dakri, the CEO of WSB, when he introduced Bhavsar to the audience at the event.

From left: Rajiv Bhavsar, Rajni Bhavsar, Niraj Bhavsar, Bela Bhavsar, Mamta Kapadia, Sushila Bhavsar, Ramesh Bhavsar.

From left: Rajiv Bhavsar, Rajni Bhavsar, Niraj Bhavsar, Bela Bhavsar, Mamta Kapadia, Sushila Bhavsar, Ramesh Bhavsar.

Wallis State Bank is a 111 year institution that was established a wood frame building in 1906 in the small town of Wallis, about 60 miles southwest of downtown Houston on Hwy. 36 between Sealy and Rosenberg. Musa Dakri, an Indian entrepreneur with considerable skill in banking took over ownership in the early 1990s and expanded its operations to Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fulshear and Los Angeles. Since then, his son Asif has taken over the reins and continues with the same growth plans.

The awards presentation featured Richard Rybacki, the SCORE Chapter 37 President; Al Lewis, Business Editor of the Houston Chronicle as emcee; Houston District Director Tim Jeffcoat and featured speaker Patrick Jankowski, VP of Research at the Greater Houston Partnership. Among other South Asians receiving outstanding awards in their fields were Dr. Saleha B. Khumawala of SURE, the UofH Bauer College of Business; Dr. Faheem Inayatali of the Eye Center of Houston and Sadik Dalal of Axistrade.

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