KBC and the ‘guys’ at the Central Bank


Sir, – Johan Thijs, group chief executive of KBC Bank, has criticised the Central Bank for its “nitty-gritty” pursuit of justice for grievously wronged tracker-mortgage holders, cajoling the “guys” at the Central Bank to “turn the page” (“KBC boss criticises Central Bank warning”, News, November 15th).

Then with breathtaking irony, he adds: “We’ve learned our lesson, we know what to do.”

When Matthew Elderfield came here as financial regulator after the implosion of our banks in 2007 to sort out the mess, he said what was needed was “invasive scrutiny and effective sanctions”.

We now have more invasive, “nitty-gritty” scrutiny by the Central Bank, but not the effective sanctions.

It remains the case that so long as sanctions are imposed on banks, and not on bankers, then it is only a matter of time before the next banking scandal surfaces and yet again we will just have to grit our teeth and “get over it”. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – The majority of inmates in our prisons would heartily agree with KBC Bank chief Johan Thijs. They too find the attention of the authorities “annoying” in their pursuit of wrongdoing.

They would welcome the DPP “turning the page” and stopping all the “nitty-gritty stuff” that is hampering development of their business. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 13.

Sir, – There is little point getting upset about bank and their funny little way of overcharging 40,000 customers.

It’s their country. We just live in it. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – KBC Bank group chief executive Johan Thijs is saying what the rest of the bankers are thinking but dare not say.

We owe him a debt of gratitude.

Like the bailout, it’s a debt we can never hope to repay.

What a complete and utter shower. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – Anglo, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland, Irish Nationwide, KBC – the list goes on of financial institutions that completely failed their customers and today pretend nothing happened!

Who does the chief executive of KBC think he’s talking to or about?

Obviously his pockets were not directly affected by his bank’s carry-on regarding the tracker-mortgage debacle.

This is not going away, and he should apologise not only to his bank’s customers but also to the Irish taxpayers for the bailout given to his bank.

The bloody cheek! – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Anyone who thinks the time has come to reinstate bonuses for senior bankers should consider the absolute arrogance and insensitivity of the KBC group chief executive Johan Thijs, who called the Central Bank’s ongoing investigation into the tracker mortgage scandal “annoying”. It seems we are interfering with his profit growth. Shame on us. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Johan Thijs of KBC sounds like Ross O’Carroll-Kelly. This time, the joke’s on us. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.

Sir, – So it’s time to forget that KBC, along with other banks, were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

But the KBC chief forgets that, unlike bankers, the rest of us have long memories. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – Two years ago, regarding the systematic overcharging by 11 financial institutions of 40,000 customers, the Taoiseach said, “it’s a little bit premature to say whether or not there was collusion. There is an investigation under way by the Central Bank and I don’t want to pre-judge the outcome of that.” (News, October 24th, 2017).

We’re still waiting for him to form an opinion.

And from the Central Bank, not a word as to whether it has referred even a single case of overcharging to An Garda Síochána. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – The remarks on the tracker-mortgage scandal by KBC’s Johan Thijs are an utter disgrace.

More than 40,000 customers had their lives changed irreparably, many of them by KBC itself. Many of these customers are still fighting for proper redress, with many hampered by delays in processing their claims.

The cost of court is financially unviable, not to mind the stress of it on mental health. Several cohorts are still fighting to be recognised.

This episode has left scars for many of these customers which will last a lifetime. KBC, in particular, is showing very little contrition or understanding of the impact of its actions.

This brash attitude is not acceptable.

If anything, it shows that regulation is still not tight enough. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 3.