Bank Rakyat Indonesia deploys first digital branches in Indonesia to lure millennials
Following the launch of its own satellite in mid-June, state lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia on Monday opened its first "fully digital" branch and is planning to open more this year -- in what a bank executive says is an attempt to appeal to young and tech-savvy Indonesians.
BRI, Indonesia's second-largest lender by assets, has traditionally been known for its focus on microfinancing -- with small and midsize businesses in Indonesia's rural areas being its main target market.
BRI, however, seems to want to enhance that image with the launch of BRI Digital at Soekarno-Hatta Airport's Terminal 3 Ultimate, Indonesia's largest airport terminal on the outskirts of Jakarta that only recently commenced partial operations.
The branch offers the "most comprehensive digital-banking services ... the first of its kind in Indonesia," said BRI President Asmawi Syam. "This is to welcome the future, to serve BRI customers who are of the millennial generation."
"This has been enabled with the launch of the satellite," he went on, referring to the BRIsat, which was launched from the northern coast of French Guiana in South America -- making BRI the world's first bank with its own satellite.
BRI has repeatedly said that the satellite is aimed at supporting its digital services -- including in rural and remote regions of Indonesia that have for decades been BRI's forte, as compared with other Indonesian banks focusing on big towns and cities.
BRI Digital outlets, however, are obviously aimed at middle-to-upper-class Indonesians -- with BRI planning to open nine more by the end of the year in Indonesian provincial capitals, including Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Medan.
"We will probably open more of these digital branches at shopping malls -- so while people shop, they can do some banking transactions," Syam said.
The BRI Digital outlet at Soekarno-Hatta Airport is equipped with self-service facilities utilizing "state-of-the-art technologies" -- such as several "smart tables" allowing visitors to access information on the bank's various services, as well as "hybrid machines" allowing new customers to open an account at the bank and "video banking tools" that let customers speak with customer service officers.
"Because later, we won't assign any officers here," Syam said.