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KBC chief chides Central Bank for 'annoying' focus on tracker mortgage scandal


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The chief executive of KBC Bank criticised the Central Bank’s focus on the tracker mortgage scandal as the bank’s Irish unit set aside €18m more for potential fines and compensation.

Chief executive Johan Thijs told analysts in a conference call that the Central Bank should move on from issues tied to KBC's admitted failure to keep tracker-eligible customers on the lower-cost product - an issue that already has cost the bank €142m in compensation payments.

“What is still an annoying thing is the whole tracker mortgage stuff,” Mr Thijs said. “Honestly, I would recommend (to) the Central Bank of Ireland: Come on guys, turn the page, focus on doing business.”

“We have learned our lessons, we know what to do,” he said, adding: “Let’s turn that page.”

He spoke after KBC’s Irish arm announced its net profits fell to €4.4m in the three months to 30 September from €33.6m in the same period last year – chiefly because of €18m more in provisions for expected fines and compensation payments.

KBC Ireland’s plan includes a €14m charge as a provision against an expected Central Bank fine.

So far this year KBC Ireland has made a profit after tax and impairment of €29.3m.

Elsewhere, mortgage lending at KBC Ireland jumped 21pc year on year to €800m during the quarter.

The bank’s year-to-date mortgage market share stands at 11.7pc, up from 10.9pc in 2018, according to the latest results from the group.

Current account growth at the bank is up 14pc with more than 30,000 new current accounts opened so far this year.

The bank has added 22,000 new customer accounts in the third quarter of 2019, bringing total number of new customer accounts added this year to over 60,000.

Impaired loans at the bank reduced by 8pc in quarter three to €1.7bn.

Meanwhile, KBC Group ended the third quarter with a net profit of €612m.

  • Additional reporting Bloomberg

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