With a wealth of banking experience under her belt, Dessy Masri shares her enthusiasm on a platinum banking product that facilitates the luxurious needs of distinguished premium society in the archipelago.
The acquisition of American Express (AMEX) business by Bank Danamon in September 2006 has made the bank one of the largest card issuers in Indonesia. Dessy Masri, executive vice president for American Express Card Business Head, says that the increasing number of AMEX card members in the country is owing to brand’s high reputable image worldwide.
In Indonesia, AMEX was once big before it turned into having forty winks in the business. In line with Bank Danamon’s effort to continue bringing innovation in its products and services, the sleeping giant has become a flagship product.
The success led to the birth of AMEX platinum card in September 2008. “Our platinum card is exclusively designed for selected individuals and only available on invitation basis, ranging from CEOs of multi-national companies and high rank officials to business owners and socialites,” Dessy adds.
She further remarks that many of these high network individuals are frequent travelers. So, they can take advantage of dual billing currency from the platinum membership. “It means that when they travel around the world, they don’t have to bother looking into exchange rate. What they pay in US dollar will be billed in US dollar. Likewise, we will bill them in rupiah for the purchase made in rupiah,” she explains adding, “Crème de la crème travelers with AMEX platinum don’t have to queue in the airport immigration, and they are entitled to using VIP Airport Lounge with all the facilities offered.”
She also adds that these premium customers need to be pampered with other premium facilities and services available like concierge and platinum dining. Concierge allows card holders to make purchase from anywhere around the world and have the purchased item delivered right to their door. “And we collaborate with a number of upscale restaurants offering discount and attractive point rewards through our platinum dining program,” she adds.
Notwithstanding all the top-notch facilities the platinum membership offers, Dessy says that the total number of platinum card holders nationwide is only a little more than 1 percent of the total number of gold card holders. Nevertheless, she is confident that in the long-run AMEX’s platinum product will bring in a big chunk of profit.
“Platinum banking product has the opportunity in terms of spending power despite the small number of customers. Their spending power is ten times more than the average affluent customers,” she avers. “Our product is charge card with unlimited use.”
Depending on the criteria and customers’ level of income, AMEX offers individual green, gold and platinum card, as well as corporate green and gold card. All are charge cards with the exception of the individual gold card, which is offered in either charge or credit card.
“On the corporate card, there is huge opportunity for us to get to these customers seeking comfort and luxury on traveling and business entertainment,” she remarks.
Born on December 12, 1970, Dessy earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from University of Southern California and Purdue University in Indiana, U.S. in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
Her shifting gear to the banking industry was the fruit of her rich experience working in a number of financial institutions where she developed her savvy in the industry.
Just joined AMEX last March, Dessy has a stack of responsibilities waiting on her desk. Weekend, to her, is where she spends her precious time with her only kid, the ten-year-old Aldo Bayong. The last two months, Dessy’s weekends can be translated as taking extra working hours, though she is often able to squeeze some precious time with her family.
“Normally, we spend our weekend shopping, watching a movie and taking culinary journey. My son especially loves Japanese food. Sushi Tei, Kiadon and Midori are his favorites,” she says. “And once in a while, we love taking a break from the Jakarta’s hustle and bustle by spending our weekend in Puncak or Bandung.”
As for the long holiday destination, Bali is what she and her family treasure the most. “Not only does Bali have one of the world’s most beautiful oceans, but no less important, the island’s laid-back lifestyle really fits a fun vacation,” she amazes.
Dessy is an avid reader, indeed. She loves reading leadership books because she believes that leadership is something that can be learned. She admires John Maxwell and has collected all of his books.
Asked what her career long-term goal with AMEX is, she replies, “I always want to move forward. I keep telling my team the importance of having dreams. I recently delivered my speech “Reaching Dream (Meraih Mimpi). I’m aiming at bigger responsibilities. Throughout my banking career, I’m always in charge of the assets side. In the future, I would also like to be in the Liabilities side.”
In describing her leadership, Dessy asserts that a leader must know where to go and how to go. “You must be able to plan your resources accordingly before making excellent execution.”
Referring to John Maxwell’s Laws of Navigation, she concludes,”Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.”
By Aulia R Sungkar. Published in HighEnd, June 2010.