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Indonesian lender Bank Artos officially acquired by Gojek investor and BTPN director

The acquisition raises speculations about a Gojek’s new digital bank.

Senior banker Jerry Ng, president director at PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Tbk (BTPN), and Patrick Waluyo, co-founder of Indonesian investor firm Northstar Group, have officially acquired a 51% stake in Bandung-based lender Bank Artos Indonesia on December 26, according to information disclosed by the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

According to the public document, Ng bought 37.65% of Artos’s stake through his management consulting firm Metamorfosis Ekosistem Indonesia (MEI), while Waluyo acquired a 13,35% stake through a company called Wealth Track Technology Limited.

Speculations about this acquisition first surfaced in early October. According to Bank Artos’ public prospectus regarding the acquisition plan by MEI and Wealth Track, the move aims to help Bank Artos serving the mass market using a digital technology platform, making it a stronger and more competitive bank on a national scale.

Since Waluyo and Northstar have backed Gojek since its early days, there were rumors indicating that Bank Artos will later become a digital bank that will handle Gojek transactions. Moreover, Gojek will be reportedly spinning out its financial arm into an independent entity called Digital Katalis, or Dkatalis for short, in which one of its directors is Jerry Ng, Tech in Asia reported in November.

Ng is a veteran banker who currently serves as president director of Indonesian lender BTPN, which owns the fintech platform Jenius. According to data compiled by iPrice, Jenius was the fifth biggest e-wallet app in Indonesia based on monthly active users in the second quarter of 2019, after LinkAja, Dana, OVO, and GoPay.

Although Bank Artos denied any linkage or collaboration with Gojek through its public document, the acquisition boosts further speculations about the launch of Gojek’s financial services.