Still no light at the end of the bad debt tunnel
BELGIAN bank KBC's announcement that it was setting aside a further €263m to cover loan losses in its Irish operation served as a further unwelcome reminder that there is still no light at the end of the tunnel of bad debts at Irish banks.
KBC, whose Irish operation had already written off €175m against bad debts in 2009 and €55m in 2008, had a peak Irish loan book of just under €19bn.
The latest losses bring the total to €493m, approximately 5 per cent of its peak loan book.
While KBC's losses will no doubt be painful for its Belgian parent, it's hard to resist the conclusion that KBC Ireland is weathering the storm better than most of the other foreign or domestically owned banks operating in the Irish market.
Sunday Indo Business