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Indonesia's best domestic bank 2018: Bank Central Asia

Bank Central Asia

When the Asian financial crisis swept through the region two decades ago, Bank Central Asia was on its knees, a victim of over-reach and poor management.

Today, BCA is Asiamoney’s best overall bank in Indonesia for 2018. And here’s why: it makes more from less.

For the first half of this year, BCA reported net profit of Rp11.4 trillion ($780 million), up 8.4%. True, that’s short of the $843 million earned by Bank Mandiri, which, like BCA, is the other great phoenix to rise from the ruins of the financial crisis and which is BCA’s perennial rival for biggest bank status in Indonesia.

But private sector BCA has made its money more efficiently than state-owned Mandiri. BCA has about 26,000 employees, whereas Mandiri’s headcount is 47% higher at 38,300. BCA has only 1,235 branches, just under half Mandiri’s national branch presence of 2,631. Put simply, BCA is a better-managed and leaner bank, and that’s why it gets Asiamoney’s gong, 20 years after it was on its knees.

Next on chief executive Jahja Setiaatmadja’s agenda? Acquisitions. With loan growth chugging along nicely – BCA’s mortgage lending almost doubled in 2017 – plus interest rates moving up and costs kept in check alongside BCA’s rising digitalization, Setiaatmadja has recently flagged to the market that he wants to buy a bank in a sector that is ripe for consolidation.