“They are not just very good in terms of attracting deposits, they are also very good at their underwriting policies,” said Pauline Ng, head of Asean equities at JPMorgan Asset Management, which oversees $3 billion in Southeast Asia. “Because it is privately run, the decisions are always made based on an economic basis. In our opinion, this is the best-run, private-sector bank in Indonesia.”

BCA shares have rallied 19% this year, adding some $9 billion in market value. At $54 billion, it’s by far the biggest lender in the Jakarta Stock Exchange Finance Index, which is up 9.2% for 2019. The stock now trades at 4.8 times book value, the most among large global lenders.

Late businessman Sudono Salim laid BCA’s foundation in 1955, before he lost his ownership after a government bailout during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. The government then sold its majority stake to tycoons Robert Budi Hartono and Michael Bambang Hartono, who became the biggest owners of the bank. The billionaire brothers, among Asia’s richest, are the founders of conglomerate PT Djarum, whose businesses range from finance to tobacco, e-commerce and electronics.

For Jemmy Paul, a fund manager at PT Sucorinvest Asset Management, the stock has become too expensive.

“At this point, we prefer other cheaper banks,” Paul said. He sees further gains for BCA shares as limited, and his top picks for lenders are PT Bank Negara Indonesia, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia and PT Bank Mandiri.

Sebastian Tobing, an analyst at PT Trimegah Sekuritas, says it’s hard to ignore two decades of good share performance, especially when concerns over the U.S.-China trade war and a weakening growth outlook weigh on the equity market overall.

“It’s a bank you want to own when times are tough,” he said. He advised buying the shares, raising his recommendation from neutral on Oct. 7. “BCA is priced at a premium because investors can sleep well. The funding has lots of current and savings accounts, which makes the bank do better at times of liquidity issues.”

--With assistance from Ishika Mookerjee, Abhishek Vishnoi and Teo Chian Wei.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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