Indonesia's best domestic bank 2021: Bank Central Asia
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Indonesia's best domestic bank 2021: Bank Central Asia

Bank Central Asia

Jahja Setiaatmadja, Bank Central Asia.jpg
Jahja Setiaatmadja, Bank Central Asia

During the last Asiamoney awards period, Indonesia's banks were just beginning to tackle the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the latest awards period was even tougher, as it encompassed a full 12 months of the health crisis.

To be the top bank in Indonesia under such conditions required resilience, the ability to adapt and the drive to support communities during particularly difficult times. Many banks made clear and valiant efforts to do those things, but Bank Central Asia, under the leadership of president director Jahja Setiaatmadja, stood out as the best.

Despite numerous obstacles, BCA reported a net profit of Rp14.46 trillion ($1 billion) in the first half of 2021, up 18.1% from the same period a year ago. In the second quarter alone, net profit surged 31% to Rp7.4 trillion.

BCA owes its success to its existing capabilities. For example, the bank's digital strategy served it well as customers were forced to bank from home. Its existing digital options, with payment and e-commerce partnerships, put it a step ahead of the competition, and made BCA a formidable rival.

BCA customers can use the bank's super app, which was launched in May, to make most actions mobile, including lifestyle options such as buying gaming vouchers or train tickets. Payments, account opening, wealth management, money transfers and customer services have all been digitalized.

Between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, mobile banking at BCA grew more than 37%. Online account opening was up 74%, year on year.

Outstanding loans amounted to Rp588 trillion at the end of March 2021, unchanged since the end of December 2020. BCA helped customers who struggled during the pandemic by offering credit restructuring in line with government initiatives. The bank restructured about 17% of its total loans, equivalent to Rp97.5 trillion, in 2020 and maintained a non-performing loan ratio of 1.8% that year.

BCA also kept its lead in Indonesia's retail banking market. In 2019, the bank acquired Bank Royal and formed Bank Digital BCA. The subsidiary focuses on the millennial population, using separate apps and different branding from its BCA parent.

As digital banks take off in Indonesia and target parts of the largely unbanked population in the country, BCA appears ready to compete and remain relevant.