Deli Serdang : Focused on serving lower-income segments of the market, as well as micro, small & medium enterprise (MSME) entrepreneurs, PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Tbk (BTPN) is launching BTPN Wow! - a Laku Pandai innovation. Laku Pandai refers to Branchless Financial Services in the Framework of Inclusive Finance, an initiative of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). BTPN Wow! was officially launched by Djemi Suhenda (Deputy President Director at Bank BTPN) and witnessed by Muliaman Hadad (Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the FSA), on March 30, 2015 in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra.
There are still many Indonesian citizens who have yet to acquire access to financial services such as transfers, savings or credit. This can be seen in the results of the 2011 Global Financial Inclusion Index survey, which revealed that only 19.6% of adults in Indonesia have a bank account. It was this that encouraged the FSA to create Laku Pandai (which also translates to Smart Behavior), a breakthrough for the banking industry in its efforts to reach out to people from all corners of the archipelago.
To open up access to financial services for people who are not yet served by the banking industry, especially for the Laku Pandai initiative, the FSA has simplified the Know Your Customer (KYC) rules by allowing banks to use agents as an extension of the bank in reaching out to previously unbanked communities. This will automatically increase the number of banking transaction points (points of sales) for the customer, while at the same time reducing the burden on banking operations as banks will not need to build infrastructure in the form of branches.
“Laku Pandai is a revolutionary concept that will change the behavioral map of the Indonesian public in terms of banking. It is an honor that BTPN has been entrusted to become one of the pioneers in this initiative. We believe that our focus on serving lower-income segments of the market, as well as MSME entrepreneurs, will serve as one of BTPN's main strengths in implementing Laku Pandai,” said Djemi Suhenda - Deputy President Director at Bank BTPN.
Djemi went on to explain that BTPN Wow! is a practical and affordable banking service which harnesses mobile phone technology and is supported by agents that act as an arm of BTPN. With the emergence of BTPN WOW! people can now enjoy a wide range of banking services such as opening an account, withdrawing and depositing money through a bank agent at a very low cost, transferring funds, as well as making payments or purchases. The technology in use has also been adapted to the target customers, in that USSD, or Unstructured Supplementary Services Data, is being used. This technology allows all types of GSM mobile phones (not necessarily a smartphone) to perform transactions, even with a very weak signal. All transactions can be performed simply by entering *247 # on a mobile phone.
“Currently BTPN is working together with the three largest cellular operators in Indonesia, namely Telkomsel, Indosat and XL. All these parties have the same commitment to providing top-quality and affordable services to support the realization of financial inclusion in Indonesia,” Djemi continued.
According to Djemi, the target customers of BTPN Wow! are people who have never had a bank account, but are accustomed to using and reloading mobile phones. As such, it shouldn't be too complicated for those who want to perform banking transactions on their mobile phones.
Djemi went on to express the following, “In the Laku Pandai ecosystem, the agent plays a very important role because it is the agent that spearheads the place where the customer performs their banking transactions.” Agents can take the form of legal entities or individuals, who have been selected based on specific criteria such as their track record in business, reputation, location, as well as their relevant abilities and knowledge.
The next stage after this launch is for people to be made familiar with the program and educated about the product. This is key to the success of Laku Pandai. “In the future our educational focus will be aimed at encouraging people to grow more accustomed to this new approach to banking. With the support of all the parties concerned, we hope that Laku Pandai and BTPN Wow! will bring about positive changes in Indonesian society, while also achieving inclusive finance in the country,” Djemi concluded.
BTPN WOW! is the product of a long process, which began with BTPN being included in branchless banking trials initiated by Bank Indonesia in 2013. This was a very important step, because through this process BTPN witnessed firsthand the strong demand and enthusiasm of people to save money in a bank. This turned on its head the assumption that small communities are not interested in saving money in a bank.