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Indonesia's best domestic bank 2019: Bank Central Asia

Bank Central Asia

Bank Central Asia, led by president director Jahja Setiaatmadja, has an enviable reputation in Indonesia. The publicly listed bank boasts strong financials and fundamentals that reflect consistency and stability – winning traits for the best domestic bank in the country.

The numbers are impressive. Both operating income and net profit for 2018 rose about 10% year on year to Rp63 trillion ($4.4 billion) and Rp25.9 trillion respectively. Assets increased about 10% as well, while current and savings accounts (Casa) climbed a respectable 8.9% last year. Return on assets rose marginally to 4% from 3.9%.

BCA is majority owned by the Hartono family, which built up its fortune from the cigarette business before moving into banking.

The bank wins not just for its positive numbers, but for achieving those results in such a tough environment. Indonesia had a difficult time in 2018 with the global interest rate hikes and rising oil prices. Increases in rates led to outflows of capital from the country, forcing BCA to respond.

For example, with tight liquidity in the banking industry and a high loan-to-deposit ratio, BCA maintained a strong liquidity position last year by focusing on its transaction banking franchise. In the face of rising rates, the bank hiked its time deposit rates and focused on prudent lending and risk management.

BCA has kept a close eye on digitalization too, using more resources to enhance its offerings — a feat that also makes it Asiamoney’s best digital bank for Indonesia. In 2018, 98% of all of BCA’s transaction services were carried out over the internet, mobile or at ATMs.

For staying ahead of the game and managing its operations shrewdly, BCA deserves kudos. What’s next on the agenda? In April, it announced the purchase of small lender Bank Royal Indonesia. Integrating its operations with BCA’s own will be an important step.