Bangkok Bank is making its Indonesian presence felt by acquiring Bank Permata in the largest deal in its history.
Following the acquisition in 2020, Bangkok Bank integrated its three Indonesian branches into Permata Bank. This integration makes it the sixth-largest Southeast Asian bank by assets.
Permata Bank, it’s now listed among Indonesia’s top ten largest banks.
“Our investment in Permata was part of our regionalization strategy. Not only was it the largest acquisition in our history. It was also the largest ever intra-ASEAN bank acquisition,” said Bangkok Bank President Chartsiri Sophonpanich.
Bangkok Bank was the first commercial bank in Southeast Asia to establish an overseas branch. It opened a Hong Kong office in 1954. It did so to support customers looking for economic opportunities outside of Thailand.
Bangkok Bank currently runs a global network of more than 300 branches in 14 countries. It also has more than 900 correspondent banks worldwide outside of Thailand.
Bangkok Bank seeks long term relationships in Indonesia
Chartsiri said Bangkok Bank is committed to building a long-term relationship with Indonesian customers. It wishes to help them by exploring opportunities in the region and beyond. This relationship comes during a disruptive era due to the Covid-19 pandemic and digital transformation.
“We aim to ‘be a trusted partner and a reliable close friend to Indonesia through Permata. This is especially true during a time of crisis, such as this,” he said.
“I often reflect on the advice my father gave me during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The world is small and that we need to help people in good times and in bad times.”
The philosophy has helped Bangkok Bank become a regional powerhouse. It will remain true even in a more digitalized world and wider regional reach after the latest acquisition, he said.
Bangkok Bank has been doing business in Indonesia since 1968 with an office branch in Jakarta. It took 44 years before the second branch was established in the East Java capital of Surabaya, followed a year later by the third in Medan, capital of North Sumatra.
By owning Permata, its Indonesian operations suddenly expanded to more than 300 branches in over 60 cities.
Bangkok Bank acquired Permata Bank partly because of “its strong digital capabilities” in Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the region’s most vibrant technology and fintech startup ecosystems, Chartsiri said. He added that Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation at every level of society.
The acquisition allows Bangkok Bank to offer its Indonesian customers enhanced banking services. These were previously only available at its foreign bank branches. This will help Permata’s customers identify and assess regional growth and investment opportunities using its regional strengths and expertise.
“This way enables us to assist more regional and international customers in doing business in Indonesia and increase investment in the country, which will support its economy, its people, and businesses,” he said.
Chartsiri said he believes that regional economic bloc ASEAN will play an increasingly significant role in this “Asian century”.
“ASEAN is the world’s fifth largest market with some 650 million people. Once we get through the pandemic, the region will remain one of the most attractive destinations in the world for investment, trade and manufacturing,” he said.
Acquiring Permata increases Bangkok Bank’s presence in Indonesia, the largest economy in the region.
“Indonesia has a key part to play in this Asian century. It is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. It has strong fundamentals and the bright future ahead of it,” he said.
“Bangkok Bank and Permata Bank have strong synergies and we can offer more together.”