Responsible Business during Covid -19 KBC Bank Ireland
Now, more than ever banks must support the Irish people. Many are facing an uncertain financial future and hundreds of thousands are dealing with job losses. Businesses need help to survive the difficult period ahead. At KBC Ireland, we are working with the Government and all stakeholders to ensure we do all that we can to support the national effort and to help people as they adapt now and in the future.
“We have committed to resourcing this effort for as long as this takes. The measures we have introduced today, which include breaks on mortgages and loans, are the beginning. At this time, I would like to acknowledge the work of the KBC Ireland team over recent days. It is a difficult time for everyone, and I appreciate the effort our people are putting in to ensure we continue to deliver for our customers. At KBC Ireland, we will continue to step up our support depending on what people and businesses need to get through this.”
“KBC Ireland is committed to introducing the broadest possible range of measures to support people and business. KBC is working with the Central Bank of Ireland, Government and the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland to deliver what customers now need to help them through this national emergency. KBC will continue its work with the BPFI and other member banks to support customers through this challenging time”.
Peter Roebben, Chief Executive, KBC Bank Ireland
During this unprecedented and challenging time, KBC recognises its role in supporting our customers, employees, society and local communities during the Covid-19 crisis. The below content captures some of our responsible business practices in action.
We recognise our role as an essential service and our staff are striving to do their best to support customers. KBC employees are ensuring the continuity of service in day-today banking whether these are availed of through a Hub, telephone, internet or mobile device. KBC have put in place a range of financial measures to support customers who are facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus.
- Payment breaks on mortgages and loans for personal and SME business customers impacted by Covid-19. KBC employees have worked tirelessly to change our systems so that we could begin to help customers with loan and mortgage breaks. We have made all the necessary changes to our operations, systems and protocols to enable a simplified process for people directly impacted by Covid-19 who are requesting loan and mortgage payment breaks. KBC has been processing applications since Saturday, 21st March. Our Arrears Support Unit have worked outside normal business hours to support in taking requests from customers looking for payment breaks.
- In a time when people no longer want to use cash, KBC customers can make free contactless payments for purchases over the €50 limit on their mobile or smartwatch with our digital wallets (from Apple Pay™, Google Pay™, Fitbit Pay™, Garmin Pay™ and Wena Pay™) so they can protect themselves while shopping.
- KBC customers can tap their KBC debit or credit card for contactless payments of up to €50 in most essential retailers
- KBC customers can also pay no fees on their day-to-day banking with a KBC Extra Current Account. They just need to lodge €2,000 per month and there is no need to maintain a minimum balance
- A dedicated KBC team has been established to help customers with any financial concerns or questions they have regarding COVID-19
- For KBC business customers there is a dedicated KBC Business Partner available should any customer have any concerns.
- While we encourage people to stay at home and use our contact centre for queries, all 16 of our Hubs are open if you do need to visit one. We do have new operating practices in place to protect our staff and our customers. We have now introduced specific times (10.00am -11.30am) each day for our older and more vulnerable customers to come visit us. We have put social distancing guides and signage inside and we would ask our customers to use the hand sanitisers provided
These key supports have been shared with our customers through social media and our website; .
- Website – a dedicated page on the site has been developed to carry any and all relevant information to support our existing customers. This page has been written from the perspective of what the customer needs.
- Immediate content on social – all social and digital channels will carry details of how your customers can get more information on COVID-19 and the supports provided by KBC.
- Additional COVID-19 updates – as and when new measures are announced we will share on social channels in a way that makes them simple to understand and helpful to customers.
- By following the KBC social media channels, customers and the wider public have access to home workouts and wellbeing videos as part of our partnership with WellFest. Now more than ever content like this is necessary to ensure people stay active and healthy during this difficult time when gyms and other sporting activities are closed for the foreseeable
The local communities where we work
While the time ahead will be difficult and challenging for all of us, there are vulnerable people in our communities that need additional support from society. At KBC we want to play our part in supporting those most in need at this time. To do this we have taken the following steps
- At KBC all employees are entitled to 3 days of volunteering each year. We are updating our policy to extend the volunteering opportunities available to KBC employees so that they can support the community response to Covid-19. We will use the Government Action Plan on Community Response to Covid-19 to guide our approach and share volunteering opportunities from Volunteer Ireland to all employees through our internal communication channels.
- We also want to facilitate employee donations to local communities at this time. To do this, we will launch an internal donation initiative where employees can donate to the new fund set up by The Community Foundation of Ireland to support vulnerable communities with Covid-19. We are delighted to support this fund and in turn provide financial support to those most in need in our communities at this time.
Suppliers & Partners
- KBC has engaged with all key suppliers and business partners to identify new ways of working in the current climate to ensure we can continue to support our customers and wider stakeholders with limited disruption. To date, many of our regular meetings and all events have now gone online.
The internal communications function has increased communications across the bank in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A greater focus is on supporting, engaging and informing our colleagues with regular communications from the CEO, through our internal newsletter, engagement driven all staff email communications and ‘important information’ all staff email communications. Throughout the early period KBC’s focus was to reassure staff the business was responding to the crisis and putting in place the necessary measures to allow business to continue as normal. Over the coming weeks communications will continue to focus on engagement and supporting the wellbeing of our employees so they can continue to support our customers.
- Since early February, KBC has been sharing regular updates on Covid-19 with our employees through our weekly internal newsletter.
- From February 28th, while we continued to share updates through our internal newsletter, we began to also send direct mail updates to all employees to ensure that staff had the opportunity to prioritise and read this content. All updates included links to the HSE website on Covid-19.
- As a member of the wider KBC Group network, we also participate in calls with our European counterparts so we can stay abreast of the evolving situation in Europe. Relevant outputs from these meetings are reflected in our direct mail communications to employees.
- Our CEO, Peter Roebben also shares direct mail updates to all of our employees on Covid-19.
- To protect our employees and provide some level of clarity, KBC took the decision, before the HSE guidance was issued to notify staff that all meetings and events were to be limited and where possible re-scheduled to an online meeting. We restricted movements between our office locations and cancelled all non-essential business travel.
- Since the Government announcement that workers should work remotely where possible, KBC has implemented a work from home policy for the majority of our employees. In some cases, employees need to be onsite due to system requirements but by maximising our work from home policy, we can spread the employees that need to be onsite across our buildings ensuring appropriate social distancing is in place. Movement between KBC offices is now prohibited.
- To support our colleagues in feeling connected and supported we have launched;
- A Working From Home Guide providing tips and tricks for remote working.
- A Staying in Touch Framework and Policy and
- We have also launched a working from home competition where employees share pictures of their new remote work station and winners will be picked at random with updates shared in our internal newsletter
Health & Wellbeing:
- Health & Wellbeing is a key focus area for KBC and we recognize the importance of both physical and mental health. Anxiety surrounding Covid-19 and new ways of living, including remote working and social distancing can take a toll on both physical and mental health. To encourage our employees to stay active and healthy we will be sharing updates on home workouts, yoga classes and nutritional videos as part of our WellGood Programme in partnership with WellFest. The videos can be accessed by all staff and we will also share these updates on our social media channels so customers and other members of the public can access and use the content. The videos are all centered around activities that can be done at home with no (or limited) equipment required.