KBC Bank ‘committed’ to Ireland as top boss expresses impatience over tracker probe

KBC Bank ‘committed’ to Ireland as top boss expresses impatience over tracker probe

The chief of KBC Bank Ireland has said its parent is “absolutely committed” to staying in Ireland even as the top boss of the Belgian group expressed impatience with the long-running Central Bank review into

the industry-wide here.

Peter Roebben, who took over as the Irish bank’s chief executive in the spring, said KBC had faced up to its responsibilities and had learned lessons from the tracker debacle.

In its latest quarterly earnings, KBC Ireland revealed profits had slumped to €4.4m as it set aside a further €18m to deal with compensation and redress for its affected customers. The provision includes €14m which KBC Ireland believes will cover the fine the Central Bank will levy on the bank for its part in the tracker scandal.

However, in Belgium, KBC Group chief executive Johan Thijs had separately said the Central Bank needs to move on as an “annoying” inquiry into a mortgage overcharging scandal hampers growth.

“What is still an annoying thing is the whole tracker mortgage stuff,” Mr Thijs said on a call with analysts where he was discussing the lender’s third-quarter earnings.

“Honestly, I would recommend the Central Bank of Ireland, come on guys, turn the page, focus on doing business,” he said.

“We have learned our lessons, we know what to do,” Mr Thijs said.

In Dublin, Mr Roebben said it had calculated the €14m cost on a pro-rata basis from a €21m fine the Central Bank had slapped on Permanent TSB for its role in the treatment of tracker mortgage customers.

Mr Roebben said he hoped the investigation would draw to a close in the coming months, adding no new cases were emerging at KBC.

As at other banks, customers can still appeal the amounts, bring cases to the Financial Services Ombudsman, or take a legal action.

He said the Irish bank wanted “to double down” on its growth as a digital bank and was gaining customers.

Additional reporting, Bloomberg

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