KBC confirms that it will stay in Ireland
Mark Whelan
Staff Writer

KBC has confirmed that it will continue to operate in Ireland and has announced a new digital-first customer-centric strategy.

KBC has made a fresh long-term commitment to Ireland, following a net profit increase of €152m between 2015 and 2016 and the addition of 70,000 new customers over the last 12 months.

This morning's news will be welcomed by KBC's 1,000 employees in Ireland as well as its customers, who can look forward to a brand new "digital-first customer-centric" strategy from the bank.

Digital-first strategy

As well as being committed to remaining in Ireland, KBC also intends on delivering "always-on 24/7 accessibility" for its customers as part of a new digital-first strategy.

This shouldn't come as a surprise though; the bank has a history of using digital technology to improve customer experience.

In November, it became one of the first banks (along with AIB) to make Android Pay available to customers. This allows customers to pay for items online or at a check-out by simply tapping their phone to a point-of-sale terminal. 

And in 2016, it became the first bank in Ireland to allow customers to open a new current account online. This has proven to be a smart move so far, with 41% of all new KBC current accounts being opened via digital channels.

Mortgage rate cuts

KBC was competitive in the Irish mortgage market in 2016 too.

The bank cut a range of its variable and fixed rates for new and existing customers in May 2016. And then it did so again in October.

Currently, new customers who switch their mortgage to KBC can get €2,000 towards professional and legal fees, and current account holders who take out a mortgage with the bank can get a bonus 0.2% rate discount.

Continued competition

KBC Bank Ireland's CEO, Wim Verbraeken, pointed out that the bank's renewed commitment to Ireland will "result in more competition in Irish banking and better choice for customers".

With savings rates at an all-time low, current account fees on the increase for many and the mortgage market continuing to heat up, a competitive banking sector is essential in order for customers to be able to find good value.

KBC's continued activity in Ireland is certainly good news for the bank's existing customers as well as Irish consumers in general, who should be able to benefit from the competition it will provide over the coming years.