KBC Group SA/NV history, profile and corporate video

 KBC Group SA/NV is engaged in the banking industry. It operates through the following segments:Belgium, Central and Eastern Europe, Merchant Banking, and Group Centre. The Belgium segment engages in the retail and private bancassurance activities in Belgium. The Central and Eastern Europe segment comprises all group activities pursued in Central and Eastern Europe. The Merchant Banking segment engages in corporate banking and market activities in Belgium and abroad. The Shared Services and Operations segment provides support to and serves as a product provider for the other segments. The company was founded on February 9, 1935 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

“KBC Group History

The Catholic Volksbank van Leuven, founded in 1889, was one of the earliest predecessors of the KBC Bank. Another predecessor was the Bremer Vorschussverein, founded in 1889 and changed later into Bankverein Bremen AG. In 1935, the banks Algemeene Bankvereeniging and Volksbank van Leuven merged with the Bank voor Handel en Nijverheid to create the Kredietbank. The Kredietbank would be the only Belgian financial institution under Flemish control which would survive the financial crisis of the great depression of the 1930s. Fernand Collin, who became president in 1938, conceived thebusiness strategy which would lead to the growth of the bank. He defined the Kredietbank as an independent bank with a decidedly Flemish character which would be an instrument to further Flemish economic growth.

During World War II, the bank would be able to expand its activities and grow its deposits from the Flemish middle class. After the war, because of the economic recovery, the Kredietbank, now the third largest bank in Belgium, was able to increase the number of operating branches in Flanders. The postwar growth strategy of the bank, emphasized foreign expansion and the development of portfolio-management services for investors. The bank expanded into Luxembourg in 1949 with the Kredietbank S.A. Luxembourgeoiseand into Wallonia with the establishment of the Crédit Général de Belgique in 1961.

The Kredietbank also expanded into Belgian Congo. It established a branch in Léopoldville in 1952. Then in 1954 it acquired Banque Congolaise pour l’Industrie, le Commerce, et l’Agriculture and renamed it Kredietbank-Congo,[2] Ultimately it had four branches, one each in Léopoldville, Bukavu, Elizabethville and Stanleyville. Due the situation emerging after the independence of Belgian Congo in 1960, the bank discontinued its Congolese operations in 1966.

In the sixties, driven by increasing competition, the bank worked on the expansion of its branch network and improvement of consumer services. In 1966, the bank began building a foreign-correspondent network and the establishment of foreign branches in New York, London, the Cayman Islands, and a subsidiary in Geneva, the Kredietbank (Suisse) S.A.. In 1970, together with six other European institutions, Kredietbank established the Inter-Alpha Group of Banks. The Kredietbank N.V. Bruxelles acquired the main part of the shares from the Bankverein Bremen AG since 1982. The branch in Bremen was renamed to Kredietbank-Bankverein AG in 1990.

In 1998, the Kredietbank merged with two financial institutions originating from the Boerenbond (Vlaanderen) (nl) (E: Belgian Catholic Farmers Association), ABB-insurance and CERA Bank, to form the ‘KBC Bank and Insurance Holding Company’. Since then, the group has significantly expanded its activities, chiefly in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2005, KBC set another milestone by merging with its parent company, Almanij, and changing its name to KBC Groep NV (nl).

Over the past decade, KBC has built up a strong presence in many of the countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004 (Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics) by investing some 7.4 billion euros in acquisitions. More recently (2007), KBC has made acquisitions in Bulgaria (DZI Insurance, DZI Invest and EIBANK), Romania (KBC Securities Romania, Romstal Leasing and INK Insurance Broker), Russia (Absolut Bank), Serbia (KBC Banka and Senzal, now KBC Securities AD Beograd, Hipobroker, now KBC Broker, and Bastion, now KBC Securities Corporate Finance) and Slovakia (Istrobanka).

After receiving government support during the financial crisis, the bank embarked on a divestment programme to satisfy the requirements of the European Commission. As such, it has sold or is planning to sell several subsidiaries, such as Centea, Fidea, Kredyt Bank, ADB, KBC Deutschland, and KBL epb (Krediet Bank Luxembourgeoise), its network of European private banking subsidiaries.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “ KBC Bank Ireland


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