"BTN, which was created specially to support the public housing sector, should not be merged with a commercial bank," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Chairul Tanjung stated here on Thursday.
In reality, Indonesia needed one large bank capable of competing with foreign banks in the lead up to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, he said.
"Bank Mandiri is not among the top 10 banks in Southeast Asia. Only the top 10 banks have so far been involved in the policy making process. That harms us, and we need a large bank," he added.
Therefore, the government was studying the possibility of merging state-owned banks into a large bank in the future, he noted.
Hopefully, the result of the study will serve as a recommendation for the next government to strengthen the national banking industry, he said.
"Commercial banks should be merged. In this relatively short time, the current government will recommend that the next government merge the banks based on the results of the study," he added.
He hinted that the planned merger of state-owned banks will not affect a certain bank and the study will be conducted for the national banking industry as a whole.
"We do not specifically talk about one bank. We are only studying the architecture of the national banking industry. In this regard, we are studying each state bank, including those carrying out special tasks," he said.
State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan had originally planned to merge BTN and Bank Mandiri to help BTN meet high demand for home loans.
However, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono directed that the strategy plan be discontinued on the ground it will have a far-reaching impact on the general elections.(*)