Patrick Walujo, co-founder and managing partner of Northstar Group, has denied rumors that Bank Artos will become Gojek’s digital bank, during an interview with journalists at the sidelines of the Dealstreet Asia conference held in Jakarta on Wednesday.
According to information disclosed by the Indonesian Stock Exchange, Walujo and senior banker Jerry Ng acquired a controlling stake of 51% in Bandung-based lender Bank Artos on December 26. Walujo acquired a 13.35% stake through a company called Wealth Track Technology Limited, while Ng, the former president director at PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN), bought a 37.65% stake through his management consulting firm Metamorfosis Ekosistem Indonesia (MEI).
The participation of Walujo in the deal raised speculation about Bank Artos becoming a digital arm to handle Gojek’s transactions, as Walujo’s equity firm Northstar Group has backed Gojek since its early days.
Walujo confirmed plans to transform Bank Artos into a digital bank, but denied that it will be integrated into the Gojek ecosystem. “We will not collaborate only with Gojek, we can partner with other digital players,” he told reporters.
Walujo added that they will consider opportunities in digital banking areas, focusing on financing or providing loans to Indonesian businesses. As examples, he mentioned that Bank Artos could provide loans to Tokopedia merchants, or financing fish farmers through e-fishery startup firms.
“There are opportunities that have not been touched yet by digital banks in Indonesia,” Walujo said.
Currently, Bank Artos’ new owners are working on revamping its software and systems. Walujo said he expects the digital bank will start operations later this year.