When Two Banks Become One Family
When Bangkok Bank, Thailand’s largest bank by assets, acquired Indonesia’s PermataBank in May 2020, it wasn’t just the largest intra-ASEAN banking acquisition in history, it also brought together Southeast Asia’s two largest economies – and their networks and people, commerce and culture.
Bloomberg Media Studios speaks to Bangkok Bank’s President, Chartsiri Sophonpanich, and PermataBank’s President Director, Meliza Musa Rusli, on how the banks’ combined presence is helping customers unlock new opportunities in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions – and why they’re stronger together.
ASEAN is on track to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2030. How are you helping customers understand the region and unlock its opportunities?
As the largest and most international Thai bank and the sixth-largest ASEAN regional bank, Bangkok Bank facilitates FDI into and within the region, and helps our customers build their businesses here.
With PermataBank now a part of the family, we’re Indonesia’s eighth-largest bank and can provide broader and deeper services to both our Indonesian customers and those in our international network.
Indonesia accounts for more than half of Southeast Asia’s population and has seen resilient growth, even during Covid. As many more investors turn to Indonesia, we’re focusing on enhancing regional financial connectivity, interoperability and cross-border trade.
Through Bangkok Bank’s innovation in trade finance, PermataBank can now provide blockchain trade finance to our clients in Indonesia, helping them improve business efficiency and strengthening trade links across the region.
How are you combining the unique strengths of each bank?
We are one of the few regional banks that can support customers, whether consumer or corporate, in nine of ASEAN’s ten markets. We do this both physically and digitally, leveraging PermataBank’s expertise as a leading digital bank, alongside 250 branches across Indonesia.
PermataBank is still young: we celebrated our 20th anniversary last year. When Bangkok Bank became our parent in 2020, they’d already been in Indonesia for more than 50 years and were not only familiar with Indonesia’s culture, customer characteristics and business landscape, but could further share their experience and deep expertise with us, especially in areas such as transaction banking, trade finance, treasury and project finance – which are vital as Indonesia industrializes.
“One Family, One Team, Serving You” is your slogan. What does that look like in practice, and what is your vision?
Our vision is to be a trusted partner and long-term friend. At Bangkok Bank, we call this puan koo kit mit koo baan: growing with our customers throughout their journey. To be successful in the region, you need local knowledge.
PermataBank, especially under the leadership of Ibu Meliza and her directors, has strengthened our understanding of new opportunities in Indonesia, ASEAN’s largest economy, to better serve our customers.
Although we come from different cultures and different countries, we share the same value of being customer-first. In the past three years, Bangkok Bank has extended our group to become “One Family, One Team.” We have to take care of all our clients, see them through difficult times, and support them when they’re ready to grow. This is the ingredient of success, which complements PermataBank’s #DenganHati, or serving with heart.