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Supporting clients and driving revenues through transaction banking

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The Indonesian bank provides corporations around the world with some innovative cash management, liquidity and payment solutions. In an interview, Adi Sulistyowati, vice president director of BNI, explains the importance of the transaction banking business to the group, what differentiates it, and highlights areas for investment this year.

Strategically, how important is the transaction banking business to BNI, and why?

The transaction banking business is both substantial and critical to BNI. Ultimately it has improved or lowered BNI’s cost of funds, and driven a significant increase in transactions, which has played a big role in increasing BNI’s group revenue.

Many banks have transaction banking businesses, offering many of the same products, services and solutions. What does BNI offer that is distinct, or different, to other banks in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, or elsewhere? 

For more than 10 years, BNI’s transaction banking business has helped clients create more efficient business processes, and increase productivity with various solutions such as BNIDirect, which is our proprietary cash management system. It includes services such as collection management, liquidity management, payment management, e-bank guarantee, a financial supply chain management platform for supply chain financing transactions, and an open banking ecosystem.

All these services are made available through either mobile, web-based channels, or integrated using BNI API services. BNI currently provides more than 400 API services in total, which is more than any of our peers. Such is BNI’s leadership in this area, the bank has been chosen by one of the government ministries in Indonesia, the Ministry of Manpower, as the only bank to deliver disbursements to people in need from pre-employment cards through API services. BNI has helped 13 million disbursement transactions of pre-employment cards, valued at over Rp5 trillion in 2021.

The transaction banking business is both substantial and critical to BNI. Ultimately it has improved or lowered BNI’s cost of funds, and driven a significant increase in transactions, which has played a big role in increasing BNI’s group revenue.
Adi Sulistyowati, vice president director
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Importantly, BNI’s cash management system is a comprehensive and holistic solution that covers all client segments from corporate to commercial and retail. For instance, the bank sees what it offers its clients as an ecosystem. So, we not only assess and fulfil a corporate’s needs in cash management, supply chain finance, bank guarantees, trade solutions, foreign exchange and other areas, but also its needs on the retail side, in areas such as payroll, mortgages, unsecured loans, mobile banking, and internet banking.

Another area of differentiation is that our cash management system enables customers to apply online for trade transactions or receive the results of trade transaction decisions from the bank. BNIDirect is not only a trade platform it is also embedded into our supply chain financing platform.

In addition to being web-based, our supply chain financing platform can also be integrated within our customers’ systems through an API. Its features are equipped with daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly transaction activity graphics and lists of due invoices, which most banks are not yet able to provide. For bank guarantees, BNI is developing this solution to aid customers in the process around their application, monitoring and checking of bank guarantees online.

What growth and investment opportunities in transaction banking has BNI identified to pursue this year? For instance, does the bank need to hire, or invest in technology, or expand its cash management, FX hedging and liquidity solutions?

In 2021, more than 50% of BNIDirect’s transactions come from fintech and e-commerce companies. This is in line with the tremendous growth of e-commerce transactions in Indonesia, as reported by the central bank. Given this, one of our strategies is to focus more on investing in digital economy businesses in the next year. We are also developing BNIDirect to play a central role in our overseas customer strategy.

In addition to the growth of e-commerce’s transactions, we continue to carry out various developments in API solutions in an effort to simplify the daily financial needs of our clients. For instance, in BNI's supply chain financing platform, we are adding several additional features to increase efficiency and the online customer experience as well as on the mobile version. We are also aiming to develop a digital signature solution in the near future, which should help facilitate and simplify the bank guarantee issuing process. We are also creating a one-stop online solution for all corporate and commercial products, so that customers need only to look at one web page or portal for all of their needs.

Other areas for investment include enhancing online security, the customer onboarding experience, and customer convenience through comprehensive programmes and campaigns using digital media. Reliability and security in transactions are priorities for BNI product developments, so investing in more infrastructure capacity and carrying out continuous maintenance is important.

Looking ahead, what do you think are going to be the main priorities for BNI’s transaction banking clients this year? What type of demand for services do you expect to see? 

We are focusing on improving our onboarding processes, the online experience for our customers, as well as developing even more digital solutions and paperless banking services. To support that, we will be improving our IT and cybersecurity.

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