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Indonesia's best international bank 2017: DBS


DBS has been in Indonesia since 1989, in a country where being from Singapore has not always been popular with the business and political classes. So it has been a slow burn for DBS in building up a full-service operation across the islands.

DBS Indonesia, run by Paulus Sutisna, ex-HSBC and Citi, for the last two years, now boasts 44 branches and 1,600 employees across 13 of Indonesia’s big cities. More than that, the ‘localisation’ of DBS in Indonesia is evident from the league table in rupiah-denominated debt market, when DBS was beaten only by local banks and Malaysia’s CIMB (via its interest in a local bank). Moreover, with 21 issues, DBS’s deal flow was third behind big local players Mandiri and Indo Premier.

Corporate banking revenue at DBS Indonesia grew strongly in 2016, up by 11% year-on-year. DBS has launched aggressively into the Indonesian Reit market, with three mandates. Sutisna has also targeted Indonesia’s growing Islamic banking sector, with DBS showing growth in assets under management of 84% through 2016-17.

With a focus on Indonesia’s rising SME sector, DBS Indonesia has improved net profit by 75% increase in the first quarter of 2017, posting Rph263 billion ($20 million) as return on assets and return on equity came in at 2.16% and 13.45% respectively.

What is the next frontier for DBS in Indonesia? Sutisna has identified digital banking, launching a paperless bank in August to tap some of the 130 million-and-rising Indonesians with a smartphone.