It is currently 70% government owned operating company (Persero) and has been government owned for the entire period since the war of independence (1945 to 1949) to November 2003, when 30% of its shares were sold through an IPO.
BRI was founded in 1895, during the Dutch colonial period as "De Poerwokertosche Hulp en Spaarbank der Inlandsche Hoofden", by Raden Aria Wirjaatmadja. It then underwent its first (of many) name changes to "Hulp-en Spaarbank der Inlandsche Bestuurs Ambtenaren" (tr. Aid and Savings Bank for Local Civil Servants).
Going through several name changes, its final name during the colonial period was "Algemene Volkscredietbank (AVB)", or People's General Credit Bank, in 1934. This translates loosely into Indonesian as "Bank Rakyat Serikat". At this point it was one of the largest institutions in the (then) colony.
The bank's operations were affected by the Japanese occupation during the 1942 to 1945 period of World War II, including a further name change to "Shomin Ginkou" (tr. "People's Bank"). After the Indonesian declaration of independence, on 17 August 1945 the bank was officially nationalised by the new government and then re-named "Bank Rakyat Indonesia Serikat".
As a bank, wholly owned by the government, BRI's structure then largely followed government whim, which moved rapidly towards socialism under President Sukarno and then to state authoritarianism under President Suharto. This involved being folded into, and then out of, Bank Indonesia (now the central bank of Indonesia). BRI gained its current name and status in 1992.
BRI was nearly unique in Indonesia in the East Asian financial crisis of 1997, in that its operations were largely unaffected. This was because it had very little, if any, lending in foreign currencies or to the large corporations that had been borrowing heavily overseas, as most of the other large Indonesian banks had.
Since then BRI has been concentrating on increasing its core business and improving its risk management practices. As part of the reformasi (reform) process in Indonesia since 1998, the government has been steadily reducing its influence on the Bank's day to day operations, culminating in its IPO. It is also seeking to comply with the Basel II accords, as mandated by Bank Indonesia, by 2008.
Quote : wikipedia