KBC Lease UK has dropped its
broker sales channel and also made redundant all of its broker desk
This follows its decision to suspend its
broker-sourced business at the start of Q4 2008.
UK general manager for KBC Lease, Roger
Pullen, said that direct business would still be available to UK
businesses through the KBC banking channel.
Meanwhile European vendor finance head, Johan
Everaert, said that its vendor finance agreements in the UK would
remain in place.
The KBC broker unit was set up towards the end
of 2007, and comprised six staff members.
Commenting on the changes, Everaert said: “We
are in the midst of an evaluation of all our entities throughout
the group, and the outcome of the exercise will determine whether
we’re appropriately staffed, overstaffed or understaffed.”
In a pan-European context, Everaert said that
a priority for the group was to develop vendor finance programmes
in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as to move more into the
financing of “hard” assets such as plant, equipment and yellow
metal, in contrast with KBC’s traditional IT-heavy portfolio.
Asked whether the UK broker cut heralded a
wider European restructuring focusing on vendor and banking
channels, he said: “Like any financial institution, we’re
re-evaluating our products, and how and where we’re going to offer
them. It’s an exercise that’s ongoing – I can’t say more on that
Pullen confirmed that the UK leasing business
was under scrutiny as part of a major review of KBC’s business,
adding that he saw “no reason” why the move to cease broker
business in the UK SME market would be likely to presage any wider
policy. “[Broker business] is something that should be looked at on
a country by country basis, and the UK unit just didn’t really fit
under the current circumstances,” he said.
Meanwhile, CSOB Leasing, the Czech leasing arm
of the KBC group, lost several dozens of employees at the end of
December 2008, as the first move in a series of layoffs that will
see parent bank CSOB shed more than 600 of its 10,000 staff by
Losses are to be expected in back office and
management, according to its human resources director Petr
CSOB Leasing, which has recently announced the
cessation of used vehicle leasing, wrote €668 million in new
business last year. This represented a marked decrease
year-on-year, mitigated slightly by a rise in the volume of
operating leases written during the period.