KBC Bank to open six branches in State


While many banks are either shutting their entire branch network or dramatically reducing the number of outlets they have on the Republic’s main streets, KBC Ireland has reversed the trend with plans to open six branches in the months ahead.

The Belgian bank’s first branch opened on Dublin’s Baggot Street yesterday and it plans to double its number of mortgage customers over the next three to five years.

Its objective is to double the mortgage book to 250,000 over the next five years although any would-be mortgage holders hoping to get a low-cost loan are likely to be disappointed.

The bank, which grew to be the fifth-biggest mortgage lender in the boom with a loan book of €13 billion, is offering a standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage of 4.25 per cent, which places it in the mid-range of Irish banks.

AIB’s rate of 4 per cent is still below the market average of 4.4 per cent. Bank of Ireland has rates of 4.5 per cent while Permanent TSB (another State-owned bank) has moved SVRs the most in recent months and has cut its rates to 4.34 per cent from 5.69 per cent last December.

KBC has launched new savings products to attract business. It has heavily promoted an interest-up-front account which offers an annual equivalent rate of 3 per cent while its Smart Access account offers 3.25 per cent.