KBC-Online: from transaction channel to personal advice provider
10 years' Internet banking with KBC
In 1997, KBC was one of the pioneers of Internet banking.By continuously adapting and expanding its service offering, KBC-Online has become one of the most successful KBC products.But of course the Internet world is not standing still,which is why KBC-Online is being expanded into a fully-fledged distribution channel.
KBC, historically a leader in Internet banking
Already back in 1990, the then CERA Bank introduced their PC banking software for the corporate sector. 1994 saw both Kredietbank and CERA Bank turn their attention to the retail sector, enabling their customers to carry out for themselves the routine transactions such as making cash withdrawals and requesting account information. At that time, Kredietbank also launched a separate package for SMEs and large companies.
In 1997, CERA Bank was the first Belgian bank to introduce an e-banking package based on Internet technology - CERA Online. In Europe, too, the Windows-compatible system was, at the time, the preserve of the market leaders. Customers could carry out on-line and real-time domestic transfers, request the status of their accounts and check exchange rates. Kredietbank, on the other hand, opted to continue using their Tele-KB-PC homebanking package and only to link up with the Internet as an information channel. It too offered the possibility of building up a historical record of account information, and 'bundling' various transfer instructions in one remittance folder.
After the KBC merger, both packages were gradually integrated and further developed. From 1998, customers could also place stock exchange orders directly via their e-banking package. After just a few months, more than 15% of all KBC's stock market transactions were processed through this channel. Today KBC-Online accounts for 54% of all stock market transactions. KBC-Online customers have been able to check their investment portfolio via the web since 2001. The following year, 2002, also saw several innovations. Customers could print their own account statements, access an overview of their insurance policies, and buy and sell KBC investment funds. Since 2003, customers can submit an insurance claim online. The following year, they could check whether they were adequately covered using the module 'insurance advice'. The latest important step in developing KBC-Online was the introduction, earlier this year, of the KBC Card Reader which provides access to the KBC service offering.
Growth continues unabated
Over the past 10 years, KBC-Online has succeeded in forging an important role for itself in KBC's multi-channel approach. At the end of 2006, there were 520,000 KBC subscribers, of whom about 80% logged on at least once a month. 1 in 3 families banking with KBC, do it online. Almost 60% of subscribers are in the age category 25-49, of which the category 35-49 years represents the largest single user group with 36%. 25% of subscribers are over 50, and even the over 75s with 5 000 subscribers are still well represented.
Every month via KBC-Online, 400 000 custody accounts are consulted, 3.5 million transfers effected and account balances viewed 10 million times. 91% of transfers are now effected electronically.
Other elements of KBC-Online - such as insurance advice or investment portfolios - are used much less, which is why KBC is starting a campaign to stimulate the wider use of KBC-Online.
But because each customer group has different banking needs and expectations, KBC-Online has been 'tailored'. A slimmed down version is therefore available for the under 18s which tailors the number of functions available to their specific banking profile.
2006 also saw the development of a separate 'KBC-Online for Business' package for the self-employed, members of the liberal professions and SMEs. KBC believes that it is important to give our senior citizens a helping hand with KBC-Online and has, for several years now, been successfully organising highly popular Road shows as well as PC and Internet training sessions especially for them. Their contribution to the growth in KBC-Online usage has now reached the same sort of level as the other age groups, namely 12% per year.
At the same time, KBC-Online is being constantly adapted to the changing needs of the customer. Customers can now view their account records for the previous 12 months. They can print their statements or save them to their own PC. Since launching the service in November 2006, 110 000 KBC customers have opted to view their account statements in this way.
KBC started distributing the KBC Card Reader at the beginning of this year. Customers can use this to register on KBC-Online in security with their KBC Bank Card all over the world. Every subscriber will get his card reader in the course of this year. From mid-2007, KBC will also make available a special card reader for customers with a visual or physical handicap.
Your own KBC Adviser 'at home' - when you need him
Today, only a limited number of products and services (e.g. shares, investment funds) can be accessed directly via the Internet. But a recent survey among new KBC customers has shown that 40% would like to use the Internet. "There's a clear need for easy product access via the Internet," says Rudi Peeters, KBC's General Manager of Marketing. "That's why KBC wants to expand its website into a real sales channel for both existing and future customers."
Customers have been able to use the Internet since June 2006 to order a KBC Bank Card with their personalised photo. This Autumn, KBC is extending its offer so that you will be able to use the channel to register as a customer and avail yourself of consumer credit. Future plans include extending the simulation possibilities and offering an order facility for bank and credit cards, opening an account or taking out travel assistance insurance. During the course of this year, we are also revamping the KBC website to reflect the switch from pure info channel to an advice and sales channel.
The Internet channel will continue to complement KBC's current extensive and successful network of 780 bank branches and 592 independent insurance agents. But banking today is so much more than just carrying out over-the-counter or on-screen transactions. A high-quality banking service today is built on providing professional and personalised advice, whether that comes from a bank branch, the Internet or via other banking channels. That is why the Internet, in the years ahead, will become more and more interactive and dynamic, supported by the new Internet capabilities such as personal and public discussion and info sharing, instant messaging, pod- and vodcasts, RSS feeds, etc. "From a simple supplementary transaction system, the Internet has expanded to become a fully-fledged, personal information and advice channel which allows the customer to be in permanent dialogue with KBC," concludes Danny De Raymaeker, General Manager of KBC's Retail & Private Bancassurance Directorate. "Internet banking at KBC is thus starting a new chapter in which personalising the customer relationship is key, bringing new meaning to the concept of the 'warm and friendly bancassurer'."
This week saw KBC launch its first Internet advisory application. Every workday at 5 p.m., Piet Lammens, Head of Research in KBC's Brussels Dealing Room, provides an overview (in Dutch) via the KBC website of the main economic events of the day. In this daily 3-minute report from his office, he analyses the issues and prospects for the financial markets. In time, this application may be extended to include live commentary on actual events, different language versions, or economic analyses tailored to different target groups. The vodcast reports (combining Video on Demand and webcast) can be viewed continuously on www.kbc.be/ondernemen (initially in Dutch only).
KBC Group is one of the leading financial groups in Europe. It is a multi-channel bancassurance group with a geographic focus on Europe, catering mainly to retail and private banking customers and small and medium-sized enterprises. Besides focusing on providing retail and private bancassurance services, the KBC Group is also active in asset management, the provision of corporate services, market activities and private equity.
The KBC Group occupies significant, even leading positions in its 2 home markets of Belgium and Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and has an extensive private banking network (in 10 countries) grouped under the European Private Bankers concept. The KBC Group has also selectively established a presence in a number of other countries and regions around the world.
KBC Group NV is listed on Euronext Brussels (ticker symbol 'KBC') and the Luxembourg stock exchange and has the following direct subsidiaries: KBC Bank, KBC Insurance, Kredietbank S.A. Luxembourgeoise and KBC Asset Management.
With a market capitalization of nearly 36 billion euros, KBC Group is one of the top Belgian companies and one of the leading financial groups in Europe, employing 51.000 staff and catering for 11 million customers.
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