KBC Bank Ireland launches new current account and targets 10% market share
Ireland’s current account market has begun to open up to competition this year
KBC Bank Ireland: aims to capture 10 per cent of current account market
KBC Bank Ireland has launched a current account product here that it hopes will help it secure a 10 per cent share of this market over time.
Customers who maintain a minimum daily balance of €2,000 will pay a maximum of €24 a year - charged at €6 a quarter - in account fees.
Those who don’t maintain that balance level will pay €6 a quarter in fees in addition to 30 cent per transaction when they use ATMs or cheques.
The quarterly fees will cover fees relating to point of sale transactions, cashback services, online banking, and direct debit and standing orders.
To promote the new account, KBC, which has a Belgian parent of the same name, is planning a major marketing campaign beginning on Sunday. The bank will also open new branches in Limerick and Galway this month.
The current account comes with a Mastercard debit card, overdraft facilities and draft issuance. It will give customers the option to automatically transfer funds above a certain balance each month into a KBC savings product, to maximise the interest rate return.
Customers with an KBC online instant interest 15-month, fixed-term account can remit the interest to their current account at any time during the term.
Ireland’s current account market has begun to open up to competition this year with state-owned Permanent TSB offering free banking for those who mandate €1,500 a month to their current account and agree to receive their statements online.
AIB offers free banking if you maintain a minimum daily balance of €2,500 per quarter, but it did increase its individual transaction fees last month. It charges €4.50 per quarter, plus additional charges per transaction.
Bank of Ireland customers can obtain free banking by always keeping €3,000 in their account per quarter. Where balances fall below that level, customers are charged either 28 cent per transaction or €11.40 per quarter, subject to certain conditions.
KBC chief executive John Reynolds told The Irish Times : “We’re not claiming to have the lowest cost product in the marketplace but we will be competitive. It’s a competitive offering against all providers,” he said.
KBC has operated here for 40 years but previously focused on business banking and mortgages.
Mr Reynolds said its offering to date was appropriate for the bank and noted how it had achieved 36 years of “sequential profit” in Ireland before the financial sector crashed here.
He said the company’s parent group was committed to the Irish market and had given the business a mandate to expand its retail presence here.
KBC has had some success in Ireland with its deposit products over the past 18 months, securing about €2.7 billion from customers.
It has about 150,000 retail customers in deposits and mortgages. Just under one-in-three of KBC’s €3.1 billion buy-to-let mortgage book in Ireland is in arrears and 18.8 per cent of its €9.2 billion book of owner-occupied home loans.
KBC’s Irish losses in the second quarter narrowed to €69 million from €95 million a year earlier.