Based in Belgium with a wide reach that encompasses core countries in central and Eastern Europe , Ireland and a selective past of British Isles is the KBC group. North America and south east Asia being the Europe’s top bank insures since 1998 as a result of the merge between two banks and insurer. The integrated model of the bank is its commitment to empowering and safeguarding customers which has given it the bancassurance success! KBC being the universal financial provider offer a multi range of services to its 13 million clients. Which include retail banking investment management, corporate banking and insurance through multiple channels with an increasing emphasis on digital innovation. Committed to sustainability being respectful, responsive and results driven interaction with their customers puts them to limelight.
Mr. Johan Thijis chief executive officer, KBC group recently expressed the challenges they faced and what were the strategies taken to overcome the issue. He said that even before the covid crisis the banks had standards set for working from home , at least two days a week. This helped the employees to swiftly get used to working remotely. The only difference this time was that there was a shift of 95 percent of the staff working from home, five days a week. But issue started when the customers started to request to come to the bank branches whenever they intended to , which was obviously not possible because of the lockdown restrictions. This raised to the issue of appointments and cancellations. Most probably this challenge materialized over time , by the end of 2020 and the beginning of this year.
KBC did a release of full IT platform in Ireland without having people on the premises. Multiple risk factors were calculated but in the end the process was completed and right now that is the only thing which matters, he said. The bank’s employees started missing the social contact with their colleagues and started getting requests from staff asking us to allow them to work from office again. Interchange was much easier when everyone physically gathered around the table to discuss the issues or carry forward the updates. And thus the long term idea of working from home in the later days must be investigated properly. The crisis impacts the health of the human being significantly and unfortunately that’s the case! Leading way to digitalization which now became a fundamental cornerstone of the society. And the impact of digitization will not turn back even after the vaccine arrives. As the time taken to be done in four years by the managers was done in just a span of four months by digitization of the entire bancassurnce services.
Few of the lessons learnt were that the future can never be predict 100 per cent. Anticipating and acting swiftly to whatever the future throws at you has been a valuable lesson. He said , “When that future hits and kicks in, in the form of a crisis, you need to act swiftly. KBC has been working hard for many years to anticipate a digital disruption.” In situations like these some will blossom as their managerial skills come to surface and others will completely block. The strategy of “Differently: the Next Level” was triggered by customer demand by anticipating their demands. “The customer is not only demanding to have a good product, a good servicing, but he clearly wants a hassle- and friction-free processing of his request.” He said that the banks and insurance companies have not been excelling that over last 25 years .80-year-olds and older are the fastest-growing group in the use of digital applications. What’s more, 37 percent of our 80-plus-year-old people are using mobile applications for their basic transactions right away. And there will be raise in the numbers soon.