RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Indonesia

Bank Negara Indonesia to partner with 46 Japanese banks

BNI is looking to partner with 46 Japanese regional  operating in Indonesia within the year.


The bank hopes to tap into the US$48.8 billion potential transactions with these Japanese companies.

Bank Negara Indonesia general manager for international division Abdullah Firman Wibowo said the lender had so far secured agreements with 35 Japanese regional lenders, atop an MoU with Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The bank has formed a so-called “Japan Desk”, which will exclusively serve the Japanese clientele, to manage and handle Japanese businesses in Indonesia, according to Firman.

“These top five sectors are where we want to focus on,” said Firman, citing Toyota, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha as BNI’s target examples for the Japan Desk.

There are about 1,000 Japanese companies operating across Indonesia mainly in manufacturing, services, construction and engineering, trading, and transportation.

Of the thousand Japanese businesses in Indonesia, 196 firms have become BNI’s customers, representing 20 percent of the total population, with total deposits and savings topping Rp 1.3 trillion or US$136.5 million.

“That way [the Japanese clients] could be our source of low cost funds, because the interest rate is 0.5 percent over Libor,” Firman added. BNI saw the opportunity to gather up to $1 billion third party funds from the potential Japanese clients, considering that each of the 46 Japanese regional banks that it will cooperate with will contribute between $10 million and $20 million deposits and savings.

“We will secure the benefits from three points of view. First is long-term and low-cost funding. Second, [Japanese firms] will also use foreign exchange transactions for money transfers, which will benefit our treasury,” Firman explained. “Third, trade financing.”

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