Friday 18 August 2017

KBC Bank Ireland reports profit of €70.4m for the first three months of 2017

Wim Verbraeken, Chief Executive of KBC Bank Ireland
Wim Verbraeken, Chief Executive of KBC Bank Ireland

Ellie Donnelly

KBC Bank Ireland reported a net profit of €70.4m after tax and impairments for the first three months of 2017, compared to a profit of €34.2m for the same period in 2016.

The bank’s operating profit for the three months was €30.6m before tax and impairments.

Delivering its ‘digital-first’ customer-centric strategy, the bank, which employs over 1,000 people in Ireland, expanded its digital capabilities in the first three months of the year with the launch of Apple Pay.

KBC Ireland had previously launched Android Pay, and said that 15pc of mobile app customers have already activated either Apple or Android pay so far.

“I am pleased to report strong profitability across all areas of the business. As a core market in the KBC Group, we have already established our innovation hub and embarked on our digital-first customer-centric strategy,” Wim Verbraeken, chief executive of KBC Bank Ireland, said.

During the quarter KBC established an innovation hub to drive the bank’s digital-first strategy and ensure the roll-out of transformative customer products and services.

Read more: The Punt: KBC Belgium proves bankers and farmers can harvest investments

This, along with KBC’s ongoing multi-year investment plan of over €100m in digital transformation, is, the bank said, a direct response to customers’ needs as mobile and online usage continues to increase.

The bank saw an 83pc year-on-year increase in digital activity, while the number of customers opening an account online increased by 37pc in the first three months of the year, the company said.

“KBC Ireland is paving the way to being the frontrunner in the digital transformation of the KBC Group and more developments are in the pipeline to ensure our customers will benefit from the best banking platforms available,” Verbraeken said.

Overall, the bank added almost 17,000 new customer accounts in the first three months of the year.

Read more: Belgian bank KBC confirms 'long term commitment' to Ireland

In the latest move to continue to offer a competitive mortgage offering, KBC lowered its 2 year, 3 year and 5 year fixed mortgage rates which are available for both current and new customers who chose to take a fixed rate mortgage with KBC.

The bank said that it has maintained progress in resolving arrears cases in its retail mortgage and corporate/SME loan book, with mortgage cases in arrears down 19pc compared to the first three months of 2016.

Earlier this year, the bank, who’s parent company is the second largest banking and insurance company in Belgium, announced its long-term commitment to the Irish market.

Meanwhile KBC Group ended the first three months of 2017 with a net profit of €630m, a huge increase in its year-on-year performance, when net profit was €392m in the first three months of 2016.

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