JAKARTA, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Indonesia's Bank Mandiri (BMRI.JK) will open a new unit in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to collecting remittances from the millions of Indonesians working in Malaysia, a senior executive said late on Thursday.
Thomas Arifin, Director for International Banking, said the new unit would help Mandiri, Indonesia's biggest bank, increase its fee-based income.
"The bank will initially cover millions of Indonesian workers who are working in Malaysia by progressively extending the number of outlets," Arifin said in a text message sent to Reuters.
In a press release on Friday, Bank Mandiri said the remittance unit in Malaysia would be set up by Mandiri International Remittance, the lender's subsidiary which is focused on developing remittance services.
Indonesians working abroad, mainly Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East, sent home about $8.2 billion in remittances in 2008, according to the state agency in charge of migrant workers.
However, remittances are expected to drop as much as 10 percent this year as firms lay off workers because of tougher economic conditions.
Shares in Bank Mandiri were unchanged on Friday, while the broader market .JKSE was up 0.4 percent. (Reporting by Tyagita Silka; Editing by Sara Webb)