Chairman's Statement

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"Over the year we have been consistently responding to the changing needs and preferences of consumers, offering unparalleled digital solutions through our unwavering commitment to innovation."

Luc Popelier

2019 was another successful year for KBC Bank Ireland’s business performance. The opportunity for us to deliver more for consumers in Ireland continues to exist and we will continue to set the pace of innovation for the Irish Banking Market.

Our ambition is to provide what Irish consumers want from their Bank; more convenience, value and transparency and we are firmly focused on this. Customers are responding too, as we see the growth in customers joining the Bank over the last 12 months. From a broader perspective, the Irish economy again delivered strong gains in activity and employment  in 2019 notwithstanding significant Brexit-related uncertainty. This robust growth led to a further drop in unemployment and another surplus in the public finances.
In turn, these outcomes sustained favourable financial market sentiment towards Ireland.

Against this backdrop the Bank showed solid financial performance for 2019 as it reported an operating profit of €10 million before tax and impairment costs and a profit after tax of €32 million. KBC Group too had a strong year and for the full year, the net result amounted to €2,489 million. In 2019, KBC Bank Ireland hit a milestone of 303,000 customers.

This growth confirms that Irish people are indeed looking for choice when it comes to banking in Ireland and KBC Bank Ireland are providing that choice. Our strong performance was particularly reflected in our consistent growth in new mortgage lending and current accounts, areas of our customer  proposition that we focused on and enhanced in 2019.

Over the year we have been consistently responding to the changing needs and preferences of consumers, offering unparalleled digital solutions through our unwavering commitment to innovation. We have continued to invest in and upgrade our digital offering and as a result we continue to lead the market with ‘digital firsts’ in banking.

Putting our customers front and centre  of everything we do is essential, and we are very proud of the hard work and dedication of the KBC Bank Ireland team for their customer focus in developing best in class ways to bank. Our employees continue to be recognised by customers for their service, dedication and commitment.

On behalf of the Board I would like to thank them all for representing KBC Bank Ireland each and every day in their respective roles.

Rebuilding trust in the sector and embedding responsible behaviour within our culture is a focus for the Bank and Board of KBC Bank Ireland. It is critical that we strike the right balance between the interests of all stakeholders, and in particular that we ensure that customers find the right outcomes when banking at KBC Bank Ireland.

Working in collaboration with the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB), we can achieve much more in the future to genuinely obtain and retain consumers’ trust. We are thereby ensuring that there is a long-term sustainable banking sector for everyone that relies upon it.

I would like to acknowledge Mr. Wim Verbraeken, who returned to KBC Group in 2019, for his leadership, strong performance, the successful transformation of the bank and his unrelenting efforts over his tenure as CEO.

I would also like to welcome Mr. Peter Roebben as CEO to KBC Bank Ireland and I’m confident that he will make an important contribution to the further development of KBC Bank Ireland as it rolls out its digitally led retail and micro-SME focused strategy. The Board has chosen a dynamic leader  in Mr. Roebben who has considerable experience at Senior Management and Executive Board level, an excellent track record and a deep knowledge of economic and financial affairs and broad business and risk management experience.

I would also like to thank the KBC Bank Ireland Management team for their  continued hard work, their commitment to our company and the progress achieved in 2019.

Finally, on behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Mr. Robert Power for the role he has played as an Independent Non-Executive Director and to Mr. William Hueting for his service. I would like to welcome Mr. Michael O’Donovan and Mr. Tom De Witte who joined as new Non-Executive Directors in 2019. With their experience in ICT and Digital, both will bring further strength to the Board. I would also like to acknowledge the key role that all our Non–Executive directors play in guiding the overall performance and strategic direction of the organisation.

Our agenda in 2020 is clear: to remain customer focused while continuing to roll out our digitally led retail and micro-SME banking solutions. I look forward to the year ahead and the further growth and strengthening of our position in Ireland.