KBC Bank Ireland's first quarter profits double

It plans to continue to invest in refining its digital offering

KBC Bank Ireland's first quarter profits double

KBC Ireland, Facebook

KBC Bank has continued its expansion in the Irish market, its profits grew to €34.2m after tax and impairment costs - that's up from €16.2m in the first quarter of last year.

The company added 16,800 customers during the three-month period - with the majority being new current account holders.

It saw a loan loss provision release of €3.4m compared to €7.4m last year.

KBC announced a number of new variable lending rates for new mortgage customers and reduced fixed rates for new and existing customers.

The bank says that it "will continue to work with customers in mortgage arrears in the year ahead."

Its Ireland chief executive Wim Verbraeken commented on the results, "Looking ahead, our focus remains firmly on growing our retail business by offering customers a quality banking experience that is intuitive to their needs. KBC will do so while working closely with customers in financial difficulties to try and reach suitable, sustainable resolutions."

He added that KBC will continue to invest in developing its Irish offering, "We are investing over €100m in our digital channels, banking systems and physical channels and our priority now is to further progress our vision for modern banking and to deliver on our ambition to become the bank of choice for customers in Ireland."