LONDON, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- International Banker recently held its annual Banking Awards to acknowledge the top Western European banking institutions and individuals. KBC Group received awards in two categories: Best Private Bank of the Year Belgium 2016 and Best Innovation in Retail Banking Belgium 2016. As well, CEO Johan Thijs won the award for Banking CEO of the Year 2016.
International Banker offers a global view of banking and finance. Each year through the Banking Awards, it recognises the leading banking institutions and individuals that have set the bar for industry excellence. The 2016 Banking Awards acknowledge the organisations and individuals within the banking and financial industries in Western Europe that drive global economic commerce, create capital and opportunities for economic growth within their regions, set the benchmarks for technological advancement and customer service, while maintaining high levels of regulatory compliance and corporate governance. The standout institutions working within retail, commercial, investment and private banking are recognized with these awards. In addition, special awards are given to outstanding CEOs in each region.
Honoured with double awards to acknowledge and celebrate its innovation and leadership in the areas of private and retail banking in Belgium, KBC Group has achieved a prominent position on the 2016 International Banker Western Europe Banking Awards list. KBC Group, with its celebrated business model that provides a uniquely integrated banking and insurance service, has stated that its vision is "to be the reference for bank-insurance in all our core markets", which include private clients and small and midcap enterprises in select European countries. With more than 38,000 employees and 1,560 branches and operations, KBC claims a significant international footprint. KBC (an acronym for the 1998 merger of Kredietbank, ABB Insurance and CERA Bank) focuses on its home market of Belgium as well as on four countries in Central and Eastern Europe (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria) and on Ireland.
KBC is a regional leader in adapting to meet customer needs. Key to properly capturing the opportunities available over the next few years will be the firm's ability to continue to innovate, evolve and expand to meet customer needs and to incorporate technological enhancements into day-to-day operations. The International Banker judging panel were impressed by KBC's preceding 12 months' double-digit growth in clients, assets under management and profits but also the corresponding double-digit increase in client satisfaction that accompanied this growth. They felt that KBC's commitment to an omni-channel approach, backed by substantial investment, can be seen paying great dividends from the increase in clients and the take-up of KBC products by those clients. They were impressed with the bank's huge investment in technology to link all channels, enabling them to interface interactively in real time. Both KBC and its clients will benefit from the improved levels of customer service that this expenditure will bring.
The bank offers a broad and comprehensive range of private-banking services, including advisory and discretionary portfolio management, tax optimization for businesses and individuals (including estate planning and inheritance insurance), equity and option advice, dedicated bond service. Clients are presented with a choice of portfolio-management options, including a core-satellite method and a goal-based investing approach. The bank provides exclusive products to private-banking clients that are optimized by technological solutions. The judges agreed with KBC's sound strategy of harnessing digital tools to increase, rather than decrease, human-to-human interaction within the private-banking segment.
The judges also felt that KBC's initiatives inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals based on environmental responsibility, stimulating entrepreneurship, health and longevity, and financial literacy were a commendable approach to corporate social responsibility.
Honoured with the award for Banking CEO of the Year Western Europe 2016 is Johan Thijs, who has been in his current CEO position since May 3, 2012. The judges were impressed with the increase in the bank's share price, which has nearly quadrupled in value over the last four years since Mr Thijs was made CEO. They felt that he is the embodiment of the standards KBC tries to instil in all staff, not least of which is dedication and delivering on promises. They noted and praised the change in philosophy of the bank to one of full transparency that was introduced by Johan Thijs.
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SOURCE KBC Group