Decision on whether KBC will exit the Irish market due on February 9

Discussion in 'Banking, credit cards, etc' started by CiaranT, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    Indo article here.

    KBC have being conducting a strategic review of their Irish business for quite some time. The results will be announced on 9 February 2017.

    One option is to retain the existing Irish operation but the CE said "And last, but not least, this is not a Central European market, but we have another asset where we have a market share, which is below our reference, and that is in Ireland,". Closure or an acquisitive are other options.
     
  2. SBarrett

    SBarrett Frequent Poster

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    I find this quite odd as they've just spent a fortune in opening up branches all over the place and offering current accounts.

    I also got a call from a recruiter on Tuesday saying that KBC were desperately looking for a financial planner. Why would they be hiring staff if they may announce pulling out of the Irish market?


    Steven
    www.bluewaterfp.ie
     
  3. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    They may try to sell the Irish operation so would be probably trying to build it up.

    But their treatment of borrowers is terrible so not a good way to attract customers who will stay.

    Brendan
     
  4. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    It is unusual.

    However, there is precedent. Halifax / BOSI spent a fortune building up an Irish branch network, offering heavily subsidised current account products and mortgages. Days before BOSI announced the closure of Halifax they were still offering mortgages, hiring staff, opening term deposits and giving out credit cards. A strategic decision can become a reverse strategic decision. Until the strategic decision is formally announced everything goes on a business as usual.

    It seems clear that KBC want scale if they are to stay in Ireland. My guess is KBC Ireland will either merge/acquire/sell with Ulster Bank or KBC or an insurance company in order to build scale. If this cannot happen, patience is clearly running out at KBC HQ with their small Irish operation.
     
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  5. gnf_ireland

    gnf_ireland Frequent Poster

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    It will definitely be interesting to see what they do. While I am not their biggest fan, they do offer a level of competition in the market and any removal of competition is a bad thing in my view.
     
  6. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    The Irish Times reports here that some commentators believe that KBC will acquire listed Irish insurer FBD.
     
  7. Markel

    Markel Registered User

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    FBD would be a natural option alright if they were to move to the Bankassurance model. It seems an odd way to run a business though, it looks like they are trying to be #1 or #2 in every market but surely a highly profitable #4 is better than an unprofitable #1....
     
  8. gnf_ireland

    gnf_ireland Frequent Poster

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    From an IT systems point of view, I wonder how long it would be before they could consolidate to achieve sufficient synergies here. I imagine their systems are not the most modern .... but maybe I am wrong there
     
  9. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    Another Irish Times article just published here about KBC staff concerns about the pending decision.
     
  10. Ravima

    Ravima Frequent Poster

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    Don't know if a general insurer like FBD would be a good fit. Banks tend to go for the life assurance stuff as there are little short term shocks in underwriting that. On the other hand, an Irish owned bank might never be allowed take over FBD, given what happened to AIB with ICI. A foreign bank owner might suit central bank thinking in that they would then have a rich parent.
     
  11. Zumba

    Zumba Registered User

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    I've been saving for a deposit for a house. My savings are with KBC. Should I move them?
     
  12. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    Risk of depositor loss is very very low.

    The first 100,000 EUR is protected by the Irish Deposit Protection Scheme.
     
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  13. gnf_ireland

    gnf_ireland Frequent Poster

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    KBC selling up and leaving Ireland (if they were to do that) does not put your deposits at risk. They have to provide notice to their customers etc. The first 100k is protected by the IDPS

    So the simple answer is no - there is no need to move savings at this point
     
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  14. MrEarl

    MrEarl Frequent Poster

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    I think you will find that they have also been recruiting for a new team to start lending to professionals within the SME sector, for the guts of a year now... other than messing hundreds (if not thousands ?) of applicants around, they have hired a grand total of one person to date from what I hear. Seems to me like they are going around in circles, pretending to be busy but really doing next to nothing, until their foreign masters tell them what the future holds for them.


    Stories about FBD surprised me a great deal. Like Ravima, I would have expected them to be after a Life Assurance business, rather than a General Insurance Co. also. Would the likes of Friends First be a possible suitor ?

    My own bet is that they are will go with the flow for another couple of years. Now that they are back making profits there is no urgency to do something.

    Notwithstanding the above, a medium plan might be to "merge" KBC & PTSB, floating the combined entity on the Irish Stock Exchange. That would give the Government a way out of PTSB while claiming that they are helping to create a real challenger bank, to compete with BoI, UB & AIB. Obviously, the Belgians would also have the choice of divesting, or holding a minority stake in a quoted banking group. However, this would require the PTSB to be put right first and from what I can see, that won't be happening any time too soon (unless they skin it right back to the very basics of a savings and loans institution, but even then there are still thousands of mortgage holders need to be sorted out regarding compensation, or restructuring etc.).
     
  15. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    One of the media articles speculated that a "Friends First partnership" was a possibility.
     
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  16. MrEarl

    MrEarl Frequent Poster

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    Two relativelt small players, Friends having previously dabbled in finance, both owned by larger European operators... seems a likely fit imho.
     
  17. mc-BigE

    mc-BigE Frequent Poster

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    i have a tracker mortgage with KBC homeloans and after watching rte's "the big irish sell off" programme earlier this week, should i be worried?
     
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  18. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

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    No. Firstly, there remains a good chance that KBC will stay. Even if KBC don't stay, whoever ends up with your tracker mortgage will need to fully honour the terms of the mortgage.
     
  19. mc-BigE

    mc-BigE Frequent Poster

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    but having seen that programme about the vulture Funds, im more worried about me missing a payment or them catching me on a technically.

    i know its probably not going to happen, but you never know when one could be out of work or sick and miss a payment or two
     
  20. MrEarl

    MrEarl Frequent Poster

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    mc_BigE

    With due respect, worry about the things you can influence and ignore the things you can't ....otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy :)
     
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