Take it to the bank: Irish lending faces an uncertain future

As KBC exits Ireland, how did we get to a banking landscape soon to be dominated by three large retail banks? And what role will non-banks and digital challengers play in the industry?

Some industry sources say the level of capital banks are required to hold, coupled with an onerous repossession process and an unforgiving political environment, make Ireland unappealing. Picture: Getty

The email announcing a reorganisation of KBC’s senior management landed in the inboxes of reporters at 7.01am on the eve of St Patrick’s Day, courtesy of the bank’s Belgian headquarters.

Buried in the bottom two lines were the developments of interest and some considerable intrigue from an Irish perspective: Peter Roebben, the chief executive at KBC Ireland, was on his way to Bulgaria to head up the lender’s operations there.

Arriving in his place would ...