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Indonesia lagging behind other ASEAN countries in banking
BOGOR, W Java: The Indonesian banking sector's performance is improving but still does not match that of other ASEAN member countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and even the Philippines, the Indonesian central bank said.
"Even though the sector is experiencing rapid growth, there are only four Indonesian commercial banks in the top 20 in the ASEAN region," Deputy governor of Bank Indonesia Halim Alamsyah said on Monday.
According to Bank Indonesia, as of December 31 last year the top two ASEAN banks are from Singapore while Malaysian banks occupy the third to fifth positions, followed by two banks from Thailand, ANTARA news agency reported.
Indonesia's Bank Mandiri is placed in the ninth spot and BRI in the 11th, while BCA and BNI are ranked 14th and 15th respectively.
Halim said Indonesian banks were lagging behind due to low efficiency levels as seen from cost to income ratio which decreased to 76.7 percent on April 2012, but was still much behind that of Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
He said inefficiencies in the banking sector could be attributed to high operating costs in particular in labour and goods and services.
Labour costs reached 1.29 percent of total banking assets, while the cost of goods and services reached 0.54 percent.
"The banks said the high costs were due to their efforts to penetrate the Indonesia market by opening new branch offices across the country," Halim explained.
He said the banks' low efficiency levels had led to high interest-rate loans which resulted in high business financing costs.
After falling sharply during the 1997-98 crisis, the credit to GDP ratio continues to remain low and by the end of December 2011 has reached 29.9 percent, which was much less than in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
"With such low efficiency among Indonesian banks, other ASEAN banks can compete and dominate the domestic market share in Indonesia," Halim said.
For this reason, the central bank said a regulation is needed to improve the efficiency and governance of Indonesian banks in order to boost their resilience and competitiveness.
Bank Indonesia will soon issue a regulation on the ownership structure of commercial banks to improve their corporate governance and for the consolidation of the banking system. -- BERNAMA