Bank Mandiri to go ahead with plan to open branch office in the Philippines

Bank Mandiri to go ahead with plan to open branch office in the Philippines

Bank Mandiri President Director Kartiko Wirjoatmodjo. (ANTARA PHOTO/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - State-owned lender Bank Mandiri decided to go ahead with its plans to open a branch office in the Philippines, after the House of Representatives (DPR) agreed on the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) bill into a law as the legal basis for national banks to expand into ASEAN.

"We are trying to enter ASEAN. In the Philippines, we met with the finance minister and the central bank," Bank Mandiri President Director Kartiko Wirjoatmodjo said during a hearing with DPR Commission XI in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The opening of a branch office in the Philippines is still possible because the opportunities are very large considering the banking industry in the country has not been as crowded as it is in Indonesia.

"The Philippines is not as crowded as Indonesia, we are planning to go into retail and mass-market. This is the process and we are trying to enter," he said.

Bank Mandiri is also considering opening a branch office in Malaysia, but potential customers are limited because they have to compete with local banks such as CIMB Niaga and Maybank.

"In Malaysia, there are Indonesian people who work as migrant workers, but opening (a branch) there will be too brave," Wirjoatmodjo added.

The AFAS Act is the ratification of the Protocol to Implement the Sixth Package of Commitment on Financial Services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services to open opportunities for Indonesian banks to operate in ASEAN countries.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the AFAS Act is a stage of cooperation to open access to the ASEAN financial services market that can create prosperity for Indonesia.

Currently, there are very few national banks that have branch offices or business units abroad due to various provisions and requirements that are considered difficult for countries where national banks are interested to expand, according to Mulyani.

"Based on the principle of equality, it is agreed that a number of facilities are required for national banks to enter ASEAN countries," said Sri Mulyani.

Reported by Satyagraha
Y013/INE
(T.Y013/A/KR-BSR/F001)

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