KBC is to convert 37 branches to self-service only and close an additional 39 outlets following a sharp rise in uptake of remote and digital alternatives during the Coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of March 2020, 56% of KBC clients were banking solely via a digital channel, says the bank, with electronic contact between clients and branch employees recently doubling from 30,000 to 60,00 a month.
The bank says large numbers of clients have also discovered banking by appointment since the corona lockdown measures, with the number of remote appointments exploding from an average of 750 per month to closer to 35,000.
The bank says employees affected by the branch shrinkage will be offered alternative employment in another branch or transitioned to KBC Live, the chat app which connects specialists from the bank to clients via mobile comms.
At the end of May 2020, KBC Live numbered 545 fill time employees, with 80% of staff drawn from the branch network, handling 100,000 phone calls and 14,000 chat sessions each month.