Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Globally, the percentage of account ownership in developed countries (Europe, the USA, and OECD countries) which was abobe 50% was in parallel with per capita GDP income which was above USD 20 thousand. The higher the per capita GDP the higher the account ownership in formal financial institutions.

On the contrary, the lower the GDP per capita income in developing countries (Africa, Latin America, Middle East and East Asia) the lower the percentage of account ownership, the lower the percentage of account ownership.

A condition as such must be proportionally balanced by way of promoting literacy level of the people in the emerging countries through application of the financial inclusion program. Among the G-20 member countries, where percapita income were above USD 20 thousand literacy level of financial services were generally higher than that of developing nations.

In Indonesia as member of the G-20 countries, literacy level to financial services of the people was still only around 20% this indicated that most of the Indonesian people (around 80%) had little knowledge or access to financial institutions and this was related to the fact that per capita income of Indonesian people were only around USD 3,500 per annum.

A condition as the above means that the Government, banking regulators and players of the banking industry were called for to open as wide as possible access for the unbanked society to financial services through financial inclusion approach. The said society had potential financial resources which were considerably sizable to be managed as resources for the nation’s economic development.

Among ASEAN nations Indonesia’s position was more or less the lowest in terms of two aspects Firstly, the ratio of outstanding of the third party (DPK) to GDP amounting to 36.41%. Secondly the ratio aspect of credit-to-GDP at 27.49%.

Hence, the chances of increasing ratio of third party (DPK) and the ratio of credit-to-GDP was widely open through financial inclusion approach which directly aimed at target.

Again the Government and banking regulators needed support of universities, non-Governmental institutions and public figures all over the country were called for work hand in hand and strive shoulder to shoulder to continuously illuminate, propagate and educate the target audience who had limited access to financial institutions, particularly the banking system.

Through Financial inclusion approach the intensive and focused way, it was expected that financial literacy of the Indonesian people would be higher whereby to contribute to national economic development.

The low deposit-to-GDP or credit-to-GDP ratio which was 37.50% and 29.62% respectively was on account of people’s limited access to banks. The main reason was limited number of bank’s branch offices and outlets which were accessible to the people.

Location of branch offices tend to be concentrated in hubs or business and economic centers in big cities, while branch offices of banks in the rural or remote areas were still limited. For that matter in the future branch offices needed to be increased with all the physical facilities like ATM units and electronic channels.

To meet those expectations, banks were recommended to invest in opening more outlets or branch offices which would open access for the public to financial services. Soon or late, if the expansion plan were exercised, the ratio of deposit-to-GDP or credit-to-GDP would be in better shape.

Some data of the Indonesian people’s standard of welfare were noteworthy and interesting: 86.67% of the total population were above the poverty margin, and only 13.33% were marginal or below margin. Furthermore 64.25% of Indonesia’s population lived rural areas.

Sixty percent of total Indonesia’s population had no access to financial institutions or banks and 99.9% of Indonesia businesspeople belonged to the small-and-medium business category (UMKM).

The above data showed that there were vast business opportunity for banks in Indonesia considering the enormous market opportunity still unexplored. This was the one appealing factor that made foreign banks to operate and penetrate even deeply into the districts.

Survey of the World’s Bank unveiled that of all the Indonesian people of all strata who had access to banks, 51% were known to be using formal services (broken down as: 49% using formal/banking services and 3% using other formal services) another 31% using formal and informal services, 17% did not or had not used any king of services financial or nonfinancial services; they were the underserved group.

The same survey over poor family group also unveiled interesting phenomenon 21% had used formal services consisting of 19% using banking services and 2% other formal services; 40% using informal and semi-formal services and 39% did not or had not used any financial services; they were the undeserved.

Again, the above data showed that the opportunity for Indonesian banking sector was still wide open. For that matter the facilitation of banking services with all the safety and convenience needed would encourage the public to approach banks.

About savings account and credit facilitation, some findings were noteworthy. 32% of the Indonesian public were not served by banks or in other words they had no savings account in banks. This was on account of the public’s low awareness of banking services, but it could also be due to limited aggressiveness of banks or limited access to banking services.

Forty percent of Indonesian have not used any credit services from banks. This could be due to ignorance of any credit service or did not know the procedure to apply, or probably they were avoiding all the hassles and requirements by banks which were hard to comply.

The above information about people’s access to credit was in line with the ratio of deposit-to-GDP which was around 37,50% and ratio of credit-to-GDP which was around 29.62%. For that matter it was necessary implement and activate the financial inclusion program whereby to open access to the maximum and increase literacy of the target audience.

In fact there was a new product launched by the Government which could be used as supporting instrument to the financial inclusion plan and simultaneously as Social Safety Net (JPS) i.e. People’s Business Credit (KUR).

So far absorption of KUR for 2012 up to July 13 last came to close to Rp 17 trillion of the total target of Rp 30 trillion whilst the total debitors who received KUR came to 998,899 people. The absorbed amount of KUR was most heartening, and the Government through the Minister of Cooperatives and UKM was reported as planning to realize the remaining budget of Rp 13 trillion.

It was believed that absorption of KUR people’s credit worth Rp 30 trillion would be attained considering the national economic condition which was conducive to the plan. Accumulatively since the KUR plan was launched in 2009 til mid-year 2012 the total absorption was posted at Rp 80.31 trillion including 6,300,000 debitors spread out nationwide.

Admittedly there were obstacles in the absorption process of KUR, i.e. from the banker’s side and from the debitor’s side. From the banker’s side, the limited outspread of networking in all of Indonesia posed as obstacle to debitors who wished to apply for credit, the result was that access to financing was being back held.

Indonesia a vast archipelago consisting of more than 134,000 islands that a spans over an area as wide as the continent of Europe, was not an easy place to command over with networking of branch offices understood fully the meaning of KUR and some banks even made outsourcing practices so they did not have the mastery over the concept, resulting in wrong information being released.

The hindrances from the debitor’s side was that many of them lived in places where there were no banking services. What was more, many debitors came to visit banks in unready condition as debitors, because KUR was only given to applicants who were businesworthy.

To overcome the problem, the Ministry of Cooperatives must continue to illuminate the public about KUR, in addition to that the ministry was to guide and teach the people how to fill in the application from or write a proposal so they could learn more about Credit.

As with problems faced by candidate customers a proposal was set forth that banks should recommend the Government and regulators to ease the rules for agent banking based on the principle of know your customer (KYC) in opening customers account.

Such was related to the effort of speeding up realization of the final inclusion plan through branchless banking. The present rules of BI did not allow opening of account or deposit & draw at agents; only through bank was allowed. And yet actually bank agents must be given the flexibility of action. The role of agent’s banks enabled banks to collaborate with non-bank institutions because bank agents could render banking services. As with the know your customer principle (KYC) surely simplification would be necessary.

To enhance KYC process, a single citizen ID number would be necessary. Assuming that every person had one single IUS number, checking up of customer’s data could be made easier, faster, effectivelty and accurately and accurately. Besides it would be easier to check creditor’s track record.

From the banking regulation’s viewpoint, banks felt the need of regulation amendments in terms of telecommunication, interconnected operations or cellular phone number. This was related to the combined process of agent banking and mobile banking (access to banking services by cellular phone). This was necessary to be done because in branchless banking, cellular phone number was customer’s action number.

The banking sector was expecting flexibility: a situation where in the event that a customer wished to change operator, he did not have to change his phone number. By technology such was possible, evidently in other countries such was possible, but word was out that since telecommunication companies had objection to it, support from the Ministry of Communication and Information would be necessary.

The Financial Inclusion Plan was strategic and most important to be implemented because it allowed wide access for the people to financial institutions including banks. Players of the banking industry played an important role in the implementation of the Financial Inclusion Plan.

Considering that the Financial Inclusion Plan was a sound measure that called for commitment, dedication and continuity of effort, banks as one of the key players were recommended to take the following measures. Firstly, to simplify the system, procedure ang administration of account opening, for example by abolishing the obligation of having Taxpayers ID Number (NPWP) for certain lesser amount of deposits.

Secondly, to render on-line based service system or electronic channels system or electronic channels system (such as by internet) so customers did not have to visit any bank’s branch office in opening a bank account. Thirdly, to render electronic-based service (such as internet banking/mobile banking) which would enable customers to deposit money for saving or drawing cash. Fourthly, to ease and simplify qualifications, requirement in the liquidating process for the small business (UMKM) segment by still maintaining prudence and cautiousness.

Of all the abovementioned points, the ticket to credit access was that if applicant first had a saving account in banks then only he or she was worthy of applying fir small loan such as the KUR as JPS safety net and financial inclusion.  

Business News - August 1, 2012

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