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Indonesia's best digital bank 2017: Bank Danamon

Bank Danamon

In a vast Indonesian market obsessed with ‘HahPeh,’ Bahasa shorthand for handphones, digital has become the new financial frontier for bankers.

Indonesia’s government expects its digital economy to reach $130 billion by 2020, around 12% of its current commodity-led GDP. And as bandwidth becomes cheaper and access more widespread across the islands, Danamon has been more nimble than stodgier competitors, rolling out a range of digital options, accessed via its D-Mobile app, which by all accounts is easy to use.

Danamon claims there were around 230,000 D-Mobile users by June 2017, with transactions growing 36% to more than 13 million transactions in the first half year of 2017. The SME-oriented Danamon Connect app has also had a good take-up.

Now it gets interesting. Three of the country’s biggest business clans, the Riady, Salim and Widjaja families, each of whom owned banks before the bust of the late 1990s, are back in the business. They have bought small banks that they aim to turn into big ones online, with all manner of functionality. Having made a solid start with D-Mobile, now the challenge for Danamon and retail and alternative channel head Djamin Nainggolan is to cement that first-mover advantage in this emerging sector.