Tuesday 17 September 2019

Lender takes extra security measures to protect staff and property

The KBC Bank branch in Swords after it was damaged in an attack. Photo: Damien Eagers
The KBC Bank branch in Swords after it was damaged in an attack. Photo: Damien Eagers
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

KBC Ireland has confirmed additional security measures are in place to protect the bank's 1,100 staff and its premises around the country.

It follows attacks to property at two of the bank's hubs - or branches - and at its Dublin headquarters in recent days, in the wake of the Strokestown repossession case.

"We are taking additional measures to ensure the safety of our people and the hubs that our local customers rely upon," it said.

"As these incidents are the subject of a criminal investigation by An Garda Síochána we are not in a position to provide further comment at this time."

KBC outlets are all closed today for Christmas Eve and are not due to open again until Friday, December 28, at the earliest, because of the holidays.

It is understood managers have briefed staff members verbally about the situation.

Most staff work at the bank's headquarters and main call centre.

Unlike the other big retail banks, KBC Ireland has a relatively small network of only 16 hubs around the country.

The bank said yesterday that customers in arrears or in financial difficulty should engage with the lender in order to hammer out agreed debt restructuring.

"At KBC, we work with customers in financial difficulties to seek sustainable solutions, while being clear and fair in our communications and dealings," it said. "We are always mindful and respectful of individual circumstances and we do as much as we can to avoid any financial difficulties situations arising."

At the start of last year, KBC's Belgian parent decided to retain the Irish bank following a lengthy review.

It is the last of a clutch of UK and continental banks which entered the Irish market in the run-up to the last crash, including Bank of Scotland, Danske and Rabobank.

Since the decision to stay, KBC has increased customer numbers, in particular through digital growth. At the same time, it has sold €1.9bn of mostly buy-to-let and corporate non-performing loans to Goldman Sachs, under pressure to reduce bad loans.

Irish Independent

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