I have been a customer with the former Bank Exim, now part of Bank Mandiri, for 15 years. I have always been pleased with the Denpasar branch service, and have enjoyed ready access to the dollars in my U.S. dollar account.
However, now that Bank Exim has merged with Bank Mandiri, the new management policies have changed with seemingly little concern of their effect on loyal clients. For example, I need U.S. cash to pay bills, such as United Parcel Service (UPS) charges and textiles that require payment in physical dollars.
However, starting this year, to take out U.S. dollars from my Bank Mandiri account, I must first change the dollars into rupiah at a very low bank rate, and then use that rupiah to buy back the dollars at a very high rate! In effect, to get U.S. dollars from my U.S. dollar account, I must pay a premium of at least three percent.
This is outrageous, especially in this era of reform. It is tantamount to legalized extortion. It stinks of the same massive, monolithic, monopolistic indifference to both customers' and the country's needs of the old New Order banks. I would like to stay with my old bank; the staff are friendly and efficient.
However, this added cost of business is intolerable. Unless this policy is changed, Bank Mandiri will shortly lose my small but not insignificant dollar transactions.