2020 Winner: Serving the needs of an evolving community – Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards


For this exclusive Q&A feature, we interviewed the three pillars of Bank Danamon’s corporate and cultural philosophy that breathes life into its customer and employee centric approach for a collaborative and thriving business model. In conversation with Yasushi Itagaki, President Director, Honggo Widjojo Kangmasto, Vice President Director (Enterprise banking) and Michellina Triwardhany, Vice President Director (Consumer & SME banking).

For Yasushi Itagaki, President Director, Bank Danamon

Yasushi Itagaki has a personal connection to Indonesia having started his overseas journey as a university student at Yogyakarta in 1985. A leader who listens, Yasushi has travelled extensively within the country to extract unique insights from his employees and customers in an endeavour to build a more cohesive culture that binds business with community. After a successful merger with the MUFG Bank, Yasushi is leading from the front, well equipped to position Bank Danamon as one of the leading financial institutions in Indonesia with a proposition that benefits customers, stakeholders, and employees alike.

Q1 – Describe your career trajectory and milestones achieved over the course of your journey with Bank Danamon.

A1 - Before joining Bank Danamon, I was the Managing Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of the Global Commercial Banking Business Unit of MUFG Bank and an Executive Officer of MUFG.

During my term as General Manager of the Global Planning Division from 2015 to 2017, I was responsible for the strategic planning to support the Bank’s global expansion. Over the course of my career with the bank, I held a number of important roles with increasing levels of responsibility. I was based in Singapore from 2013 to 2015 where I set up the Bank’s regional headquarters for Asia & Oceania and assisted the Regional CEO in developing and executing key strategic initiatives for the region. Among my contributions, I developed MUFG’s business platform where I designed the holistic and strategic ASEAN commercial banking network for MUFG. One of my proud achievements has also been in forging closer and more collaborative ties with partner banks Krungsri, Security Bank, VietinBank, and Bank Danamon.

Q2 – What is the most important skill to embody as a leader, and how has that helped you affect change within the company?

A2 - One of the most important skills that I like to emphasize is listening. In my first year as President Director of Bank Danamon, I visited numerous cities across Indonesia to listen to customers, employees, regulators, and the media, in order to understand their concerns and how I can help them in achieving their goals.

The biggest change this brought about would be an increase in collaboration. It has helped us to instill a spirit of collaboration within the company, either internally by maximizing teamwork or with external partners to leverage each other’s strengths. In my first year as President Director, we managed to sign partnership agreements with renowned multinational companies, Fintechs, and startups. In addition, we made numerous collaborative initiatives with MUFG and its partner banks across the regions.

Q3 – What is your outlook for the future of the bank and where does your focus lie?

A3 - We remain focused on our existing strategic direction and growth engines – Consumer, Enterprise Banking, and automotive financing through Adira Finance, but Bank Danamon will accelerate its growth strategy through collaboration with MUFG.

My focuses are customer engagement and employee engagement. These are particularly important for Danamon to grow together with customers and the community. I have been visiting across Indonesia to meet customers as well as employees and will continue to do so as much as possible.

By being part of the MUFG Bank network, it opens Danamon to benefit from MUFG Bank’s vast wealth of product knowledge, best practices in operational areas such as risk management, compliance, AML, and digital initiatives, and MUFG Bank’s strong access to large Japanese corporates in Indonesia. Certainly, this also presents a compelling value proposition for our shareholders, management, employees, and most importantly our customers as well as the overall banking system in Indonesia.

Looking ahead, we remain committed to being the leading Financial Institution in Indonesia with a significant market presence. With these in mind, we are optimistic that progressively our stakeholders, customers, and employees will continue to gain benefits of synergies from the merger.

Q4 – Can you tell us more about Bank Danamon’s value proposition, product & service portfolio, and market position?

A4 - Bank Danamon was established in 1956 and has since grown and developed to become one of Indonesia’s largest financial institutions, guided by its vision, which is “To Care and Enable Millions to Prosper”. Danamon serves all segments of banking customers in the Consumer segment, Small Medium Enterprises, Micro businesses, and Enterprise (Commercial and Corporate) Banking segments.

We provide a comprehensive range of banking and financial products and services including Sharia banking services. In addition, Danamon provides financing for automotive and consumer goods through PT Adira Dinamika Multi Finance, Tbk (“Adira Finance” or “ADMF”), as well as general insurance products through a distribution partnership with Adira Insurance.

As of 30 June 2020, Bank Danamon manages IDR 194 trillion in assets along with its subsidiary Adira Finance. In terms of shareholding, 92.47% of Bank Danamon shares are held by MUFG Bank and 7.53% by the public.

The Bank is supported by a network of 901 including conventional branches, shariah units, outlets, and more than 60,000 ATMs through a partnership with ATM Bersama, PRIMA, and ALTO across 34 provinces. In addition to a physical network, Danamon’s services can be accessed from Danamon Online Banking, D-Bank and D-Card mobile application, and SMS Banking.

Q5 – What are your expansion plans for the future? How do you plan on leveraging technology and recent mergers to achieve growth?

A5 - Our strategic priorities for the rest of the year and beyond is to further expand our business, build a solid foundation through digital, human capital, and branding, and leverage on collaboration with MUFG:

We are leveraging MUFG collaborations and our strengths in the local market to prudently expand lending across ecosystems. This includes financial supply chains and, with MUFG customers as anchors and Danamon providing both funding and lending solutions to companies in those ecosystems. Done right, we will provide the best solutions for our customers, global expertise coupled with local network and relationships.

Danamon continues to serve individuals with a segment-based approach to tailor to customer financial needs across life cycles.  We recently launched Danamon Optimal, a comprehensive financial solution that caters to the emerging affluent segment.

Bank Danamon continues to innovate on digital, through features enhancements of our mobile banking app, equipping our RMs with technology to serve customers better, and partnerships with various FinTech companies and digital players. Danamon can leverage investments made by MUFG’s Corporate Venture Capital arm, “MUFG Innovation Partners” to develop stronger partnerships with these startups.

For Michellina Triwardhany, Vice President Director (Consumer & SME banking)

In conversation with Michellina Triwardhany, champion for the customer–centric approach and advocate for targeting new and promising segments based on precision profiling. Having accumulated great knowledge and experience in the sector, Michellina’s aptitude for taking risks and identifying new trends also transcends to her culinary preferences, having indulged in many of the world’s diverse cuisines and cultures. Here are some excerpts from our conversation with the Vice President Director, Consumer & SME Banking at Bank Danamon.

Q1 Tell us more about your professional journey.    

A1 - I graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, and then I went on to receive an MBA degree from the University of Texas at Austin with distinction.

I started my career as Management Trainee in Citibank Indonesia in 1990, with the last position as Cards Business Director (2001). I then joined Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong (2001-2003) and subsequently as Country Retail in Citibank in the Philippines (2003-2007). Then, I assumed the role of Country Business Head in Citibank Malaysia covering cards, mortgage, personal loan, and retail bank (2007-2009). I joined Bank Danamon as Head of Consumer Banking in 2009 and am currently the Vice President Director overseeing SME and Consumer Banking.

As shown throughout my career, I traveled and lived in multiple countries with a variety of cultures. My favorite activity is to try different culinary experiences in the countries that I’ve visited. While I enjoy and appreciate the various tastes of each country’s foods, I prefer the food of the country of my origin. 

Q2 Covid-19:  has hit economies & workers around the world: How’s it impacted: (i) Your company, liquidity & staff (ii) Your business & its prospects? (iii) How have you responded & any lessons learned?

Q2 – What risks and opportunities are you facing since the COVID-19 pandemic hit?

In terms of risk and opportunities, the COVID-19 pandemic presented us with a difficult challenge that limits business activities and demands due to restricted mobility. However, this presented opportunities for us to encourage our customers to use our digital banking channels such as our mobile banking application with a video registration feature so customers do not need to go to our branches to open an account. Moving forward, this trend will motivate us to continue to innovate in providing digital solutions to our customers. 

I hope that the COVID-19 crisis can be resolved, so those who are impacted can recover quickly.  The Government has performed admirably during the crisis with various measures to stimulate the economy, both in monetary and fiscal policies. These measures are expected to continue and, with the gradual reopening of business activities, the road to recovery is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2020 and continue in next year. Breakthrough in vaccine research will also help to accelerate such recovery.

Q3 – A lot has been said about your collaboration with MUFG. How do you think Bank Danamon can maximise its benefits from this merger?

A3 - Bank Danamon continues to become stronger following its induction as a member of MUFG, a global financial group. The Bank was also confirmed to be upgraded as a BUKU 4 category bank, which is a group of top-tier banks with more than IDR 30 trillion in core capital.

Our collaboration with MUFG has also presented us with many opportunities, especially in fostering relationships with large corporates and in forming partnerships with renowned institutions.


Q3 – What is your strategy to beat the competition? How do you differentiate your products and services from other banks?

In a very competitive industry, improving customer experience is key to stand out among others:

  • Innovation is the key to attracting consumers’ attention in the already saturated market.
  • Jumping ahead of the competition means investing in ground-breaking technologies, taking risks but within the parameter of the prevailing regulations.
  • For example, Bank Danamon became the first bank in Indonesia to launch a feature that allows customers to open an account through a mobile application, without the need to go to branches. This is possible due to a KYC process through video calls within the app and close coordination with the relevant regulators.

Collaborating with Fintechs provides a better experience for customers since Fintechs can go to areas where banks cannot go, while banks provide the strengths and resources that fintech might need.

  • According to 2019 data from Bank Indonesia (Indonesia Payment Blueprint), there are 91,3 million Indonesians who have yet to receive access to banking services, so the potential is still promising.
  • Due to its flexibility, services from fintech can be accessed anywhere and do not require a lengthy verification process commonly done by conventional banks.
  • However, Fintechs typically do not have the funding, resources, and risk management practices that banks have in abundance.
  • This is where banks and fintech can complement each other for the benefit of customers.
  • An example from Bank Danamon is our partnership with Investree, a leading P2P lender. Bank Danamon provides loan channelling to SME customers through Investree, whereby the funding and risk assessment are provided by the bank while the interface and access are provided by Investree.


Q5 – Tell us more about your customer-centric approach and how this is implemented in day-to-day operations.

Our management is aware of the importance of implementing a customer-centric culture within the Bank. To complement a customer-centric strategy, we have to build a customer-centric culture within the company:

  • Made sure that each employee understands that their task and responsibility is to ensure customers have the best banking experience.
  • This covers all levels of employees, from security and cleaning services to executives and top management.
  • The main goal of every initiative conducted by the bank is always driven by ‘how it can improve customer experience’.
  • Reward employees who have shown great implementation of customer-centric culture; for example, Bank Danamon regularly showcases stories of employees who have shown great examples of customer service across the Bank to serve as inspiration for others

To implement a customer-centric strategy, it is important to accurately assess the needs and wants of customers:

  • With the rise of new customer segments, banks need to customize their services based on specific needs.
  • For example, Bank Danamon launched Danamon Optimal as a new segment to serve the needs of the new and emerging mobile segment, which is between the ages of 25 to 35 with a monthly earning of above IDR 10 Million – ambitious, curious, and eager to maintain a trendy lifestyle
  • This segment generally suffers from the “latte factor”, in which a routine small expenditure occurs regularly, but can accumulate overtime to meet their lifestyle needs, such as buying a cup of coffee every day. Meanwhile, they also have an obligation to fulfill financial responsibilities.
  • As such, Bank Danamon presents Danamon Optimal, which consists of products and services that cater to the needs of these individuals from savings, loans, and insurance, equipped with digital services for the convenience of transaction. Danamon Optimal aims to help customers from this segment take control of their finances easily and wisely.

For Honggo Widjojo Kangmasto, Vice President Director, Enterprise Banking

Spanning an impressive career over 20 years, Honggo Widjojo Kangmasto has worn multiple hats with equal ease and finesse. An advocate for digital, he continues to lead Bank Danamon in its quest to become the best bank in Indonesia by leveraging partnerships and technology to achieve a global standard of excellence. Deeply rooted in the company’s responsibility towards its employees, customers, and community, here are some insights into his corporate strategy.

Q1 – Describe your career trajectory before joining Bank Danamon.

A1 - I started my banking career with Bank Central Asia (BCA) with my latest position as Head of Regional Credit Department (1989-1996) and later moved to Bank International Indonesia (BII) as VP and Head of Corporate Banking (1996-2000). I then spent approximately 6 years at Bank Mandiri (2000-2006) and was given responsibility in the areas of Retail Banking, Distribution & Network, and Commercial Banking with the latest position as EVP and Board of Management of Bank Mandiri. I was also assigned as Commissioner of Mandiri Sekuritas (2003-2006). I then joined Indofood Sukses Makmur as Managing Director (2006 – 2007). Afterward, I went back to the banking industry and became the Managing Director of Wholesale Banking of Bank Permata (2008-2010). From 2010 to 2015, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) entrusted me as the Managing Director in charge of IT and Operations. I was later appointed as the President Commissioner of Pembangunan Jaya Ancol (2016-2017) and President Commissioner at Bank DKI (2015-2018) before I joined Bank Danamon as Vice President Director overseeing Enterprise Banking, Transaction Banking, Financial Institutions, and Treasury sales.

Q2 – How has the recent collaboration with MUFG Bank strengthened your market position?

Q2 - With the investment of MUFG, we can now look forward to embracing the opportunities that come with being a part of MUFG Bank, the largest bank in Japan and a leading financial institution in the world. We hope to leverage MUFG’s strengths, expertise, and network to serve our customers and to enable Bank Danamon to grow and deliver long-term value to all stakeholders.

Our relationship with our controlling shareholder, MUFG, is primarily collaborative in nature. Danamon will leverage MUFG and its affiliated banks not only for business growth but also for sharing best practices in Finance, Risk Management, Compliance, and Human Capital areas. Danamon will now aspire to meet global operating standards and stay ahead of its peers.

Q3 – What strategy does Bank Danamon aim to apply for growth in the future?

Q3 - My aspiration is for Bank Danamon to be a unique hybrid bank with local and global capabilities and, as a result, become one of the ‘top 5 banks’ in Indonesia.

With this unique ‘glocal’ model, Bank Danamon will be able to serve customers across business ecosystems, from the global corporate anchors to the local distributors and suppliers as well as the end-users. This added value is only made possible through the seamless synergy between the global network and market presence of MUFG made stronger with Bank Danamon’s understanding of local needs and enviable presence within the region.

Q4 – What challenges did you face once the pandemic hit?

A4 -- With a tougher economic condition, demand for loans decreased and there is a higher risk of defaults. As a result, banks are implementing a more prudent approach in loan expansion to maintain healthy asset quality and liquidity.  Larger banks with stronger capitals and better liquidity are able to withstand the economic downturn better.

The regulators have implemented measures to mitigate these risks by improving liquidity in the market, introducing loan restructuring relaxation schemes for those businesses impacted by COVID 19,  as well as to provide a loan guarantee for banks to channel MSME loans.

Q5 – What has been your strategy to offset and counter the challenges posed by COVID-19?

Q5 - Bank Danamon Danamon has focussed on 3 important pillars: to protect the health and safety of our employees, to provide robust service and solutions for our customers, and to manage business sustainability for our community and shareholders.

For Employees:

Bank Danamon has implemented precautionary policies in regard to the outbreak to protect employees, including:

  • Imposing strict work from home regulations
  • Implementing health and safety protocols that include wearing a face mask, physical distancing, and maintaining good hygiene.
  • Conducting daily assessment to identify high-risk employees and restricting their access to the bank’s premises
  • Providing meals and transportation for critical operations staff.
  • Providing PCR tests for suspected employees and conducting rigorous contact tracing for identified positive cases.
  • Installing facial recognition software to secure access for eligible employees entering our offices.

For Customers:

  • We actively encourage customers to use our Mobile and Internet Banking services to reduce transactions at branch offices and have also applied new transaction policies to support transactions digitally such as transactions via email for non-Internet Banking users.
  • Enhancing IT security measures

For Community:

  • Conducing CSR activities already mentioned above, including providing basic food provisions to online drivers, insurance to 10,000 National Disaster Response (BNPB) volunteers, and protective equipment to medical workers, among many others.

Q5 – How has digital adoption strengthened your value proposition?

A5 - Digital banking service is increasingly becoming an integral part of any bank in Indonesia. Not only does it convenience customers, but it also supports financial inclusion, providing access to Indonesians who previously, had no access to these banking services.

Currently, Bank Danamon has robust digital banking services, including mobile banking, internet banking, and SMS banking. In terms of digital innovation, Bank Danamon’s mobile banking was the first in Indonesia with a face-to-face verification process to open an account through video calls entirely within a single application. We are continuously developing our digital capabilities.

Bank Danamon can strengthen its Digital capabilities by leveraging MUFG’s Digital Innovation Centers in Silicon Valley, New York, London, and Singapore, as well as MUFG’s Corporate Venture Capital “MUFG Innovation Partners” in Tokyo.


The Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards is an annual platform that celebrates the best in class retail banking institutions and individuals for their innovative service offering and commitment to customer excellence.

If you would like to share your incredible consumer finance journey, then register for the 13th Annual Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards 2022 and submit your entry!