BNI Seeks to Boost Dealings With Japan
Bank Negara Indonesia, the country’s fourth-largest lender by assets, plans to increase its cooperation with Japanese banks and companies.
Abdullah Firman Wibowo, BNI’s international division vice president, said that about 1,000 Japanese companies operated in Indonesia and most of them opted to not work with local lenders unless the bank was referred to them by a company lender in Japan.
BNI established a “Japan Desk” at the start of the year to oversee its involvement with companies from the North Asian nation. The operation is supported by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
“The cooperation with JBIC makes it easier for BNI to encourage regional banks in Japan to work with BNI’s Japan Desk,” Abdullah said in Jakarta on Thursday. BNI began its cooperation with the Japanese government-backed JBIC in July last year.
Abdullah said that this year BNI was seeking to cooperate with 46 regional banks in Japan. Of them, 40 will unite to send a representative to Indonesia.
The representative officer, who is likely to arrive in October, will help to bridge communications and cultural obstacles between the Indonesian lender and Japanese investors here.
Abdullah said that he expected to cooperate with the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), which he hoped would invite Japanese potential investors to visit the country.
Japan was the second-largest investor in Indonesia last year, after Singapore. Actual investment from Japan reached $1.5 billion in 2011, more than double the 2010 amount of $713 million.
From January to June, Japanese companies invested $1.1 billion in Indonesia, according to BKPM data. The amount excluded investment in banking and financial institutions.
Japan is also a key trading partner for Indonesia. Among the top items shipped from Japan were automotives and electronics, while Indonesia sells natural gas, coal and rubber to the Japanese.
BNI is 76 percent owned by Indonesian government. The lender this week reported a 20 percent increase in net income to Rp 3.3 trillion ($350 million) in the first half of the year. Its net interest income rose 19 percent to Rp 7.2 trillion. Outstanding loans at BNI rose 17 percent to Rp 179.4 trillion.
Shares in the tightly held company closed unchanged at Rp 3,950 in Jakarta on Thursday. They are up 4 percent since the start of the year.