BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Australia

Commonwealth Bank keen on expanding in Indonesia

The lender resorts to overseas income to compensate lethargic lending in Australia.

The Commonwealth Bank has signalled plans to nearly double the footprint across Indonesia over the next few years in an effort to find fresh sources of growth outside Australia.

On Monday, the CBA chief executive, Ralph Norris, said the bank was aiming to expand to 150 branches across its Jakarta-based banking arm, up from a little more than 80.

While ANZ has spearheaded the expansion of Australian banks into Asia, CBA has been quietly building up its operations in China and Indonesia.

In recent weeks, a string of rivals have detailed expansion plans in Asia, especially China.

The push coincides with the slowing pace of lending in Australia. Growth in housing loans has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two decades, while there are few signs of a sustained pick-up in business lending.

National Australia Bank outlined plans last week to open a new branch in China and signalled similar ventures in India and Indonesia were on the cards.

View the full story in Sydney Morning Herald.

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