Permata Bank's Ridha Wirakusumah on Winning with People and Technology

Ridha Wirakusumah, president director of Permata Bank, shares how the financial institution has stabilized internal operations by focusing on the strategic combination of people and technology to compete against larger banks.

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Read the transcript below.

RIDHA WIRAKUSUMAH: The amount of money that shareholders had put into this bank are either equal or about the same with the top one or top two banks in the country. Yet, the returns for the shareholders are extremely minimal if not negative. So what you have is a bank owned by two of the largest shareholders.

One is Jardine. The other one is Standard Chartered Bank. And it actually has a broken governance in risk management, specifically in the area of wholesale banking. What you have to do is to make sure that you could actually not just face the challenges, but able to somehow stabilize the operations and turnarounds.

Well, I should say I'm confident that we passed the crisis, but are we out of the woods yet? I wouldn't say that we are. But it is getting so much more comfortable in terms of, you know, what do we have set aside for rainy days. But I think now, the attention and more acutely is how do we go from here? Being the No. 10, No. 11 bank, you are faced with the big boys, the top four, who are using their scale to win in the marketplace. You are up against the fintech, who's extremely agile.

What we would like to do is to actually set our path to try to see if our smaller size is actually a blessing as opposed to a curse. It's sort of like the David versus the Goliath. I would like to be the David, and I'm actually using both the technologies, as well as our concentrations on our people side, and strategies as the winning combinations to win in the marketplace.

We actually are extremely disciplined in understanding and doing all the comparative analysis of our team. We exactly know, you know, for example, on capabilities in mobile banking, what features we need to feel, what features are our competitors. And our competitors are not just banks. We are also looking into fintech and nontraditional competitors. I would like to think that fintech means financial and technology. We are financials. If we use technology, why not become a fintech ourselves.

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