An interview with Johmar Gazo


FST Media: What will be “the next big thing” in financial services across Indonesia?

Gazo: There are several forces combining to change the nature of retail banking in Indonesia – the rapidly growing affordability and penetration of online-enabled devices, the growing confidence of tech-savvy customers in transacting electronically, and their increasing expectations in demanding an experience that meets their lifestyle needs.

Banks are trying to react to this by integrating personalised customer experiences through various channels with industrialised back-end processes and platforms, driven and supported by a deep and insightful understanding of the customer. Getting this right is difficult, but has significant benefits.

FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Gazo: We are continuing to secure and enhance the financial well-being of our customers. We are focused on enhancing the foundations in our core banking processes and systems through our transformation program. This focuses on exposing more product and service offerings through more channels, and better structuring and analysing information to make faster and more insightful decisions. This will make it easier for our staff to serve customers, and for our customers to have access to a broader range of products and services whenever and wherever is convenient.

We are also focused on strengthening our culture and capability of continuous improvement, embedding this into the day-to-day DNA of our people.

FST Media: How has mobile banking for Blackberry and iPhone delivered value to the business and how will you measure success?

Gazo: Our initial foray into mobile banking in Blackberry and iPhone devices was primarily focused on transaction banking. It allowed us to understand what our customers wanted to do through electronic channels, and what they were comfortable with doing. This has also changed over time.

Ultimately, we want to be able to provide a convenient and reliable service to our customers – anywhere and anytime.

Over time, we want our customers to use more self-service and low-cost channels, allowing us to handle increased transaction volumes without having to increase our branch network or staff costs. In this regard, the positive experience of our customers and the return on investment from our early mobile banking offering has been a success.

FST Media: How are you leveraging the internet banking security token for customers, and what has been the response?

Gazo: The security of our customers’ information and banking transactions is of utmost importance. In our early focus groups with customers, a large majority preferred the security of a hard token for enabling two factor authentication to ensure data security when transacting online.

Now, our customers are more confident in transacting online, and convenience is becoming an increasing preference.

We are looking at alternative ways to provide our customers with security.

FST Media: How does Commonwealth Bank Indonesia plan to reach the unbanked population, and what technology will help ensure that you continue to reach these customers?

Gazo: Commonwealth Bank’s vision is to secure and enhance the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities in Indonesia. We continuously explore ways to add value, in line with what is possible through banking regulations for a bank of our size, and with the practicalities of reach through our branch network.

Our assessment shows that there is a gap we can fill in providing financial services to small businesses. Having mobile technology that offers convenience to small businesses in managing cash flow, payments, and credit allows us to provide services to a segment of customers that is currently not being adequately serviced by the banking industry.

FST Media: What has been your most effective customer acquisition channel and why?

Gazo: Our most effective channel is still the branch network. In choosing the right bank and services, we find that people and businesses still want to have direct contact and conversation, particularly for more sophisticated financial products. However, for servicing and product research, more and more customers want the convenience of self-service through electronic channels whether it is transaction banking or managing their investments.

FST Media: With respect to career development, what is the best advice you ever received?

Gazo: A manager early in my career once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal – what is important is continuing to learn from your experiences and moving on.” Over the years, this has helped to keep things in perspective, and held me in good stead.

This interview first appeared in FST Media’s annual magazine The Who’s Who of Financial Services Asia Pacific, which launched at the Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Melbourne on 4th June, 2014.