Nominee profile: KBC (SME Bank of the Year 2023)

SME Banking
01/05/2023 Article


We put the client at the heart of all the products and services we develop and at the centre of everything we do.

  • Our focus is on a ‘digital first’ approach with a human touch, and investing in the seamless integration of our various distribution channels.
  • We are working on the further digitalisation of our banking, insurance and asset management services and exploiting new technologies and data to provide our clients with more personalised and proactive solutions.
  • Our digital assistant ‘Kate’ is taking this to the next level. We work tirelessly on the ongoing optimisation of our bank-insurance model in Belgium.
  • We aim to be more than a provider of pure bank-insurance services.
  • As a partner in the climate transition, we are working with other partners on developing housing, mobility and energy solutions. We also continue to focus on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. 

How would you describe your bank's role in SMEs business journey considering their importance in the economy?

At KBC, we really care about our SME customers and we go the extra mile to support them. Our mission is that SMEs can focus on their core business, while we take care of the rest and provide the ultimate peace of mind.

How did we do it?

  • We created a complete all-in one proposition for entrepreneurs in KBC Mobile, our smartphone application: from starting their business, to all their banking & insurance needs, to their payments and administration needs.
  • This all-in one proposition in KBC Mobile is live in the Belgian market, but will be extended to our SMEs in all of our core markets in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Our 3rd project, the Kate case for changes in legal representation, was already implemented in the other countries of KBC Group.

Why do we do it?

  • Entrepreneurs are often frustrated by the massive amount of administration they have to deal with. Administration costs time and money. At KBC we make sure we unburden our SMEs as much as possible, so that they have time for what really gives them energy (and brings in money): running their business. From creating and following up invoices, making sure their invoices get collected on time, a smooth connection with the accountant, to proactive financial insights: everything is possible in KBC Mobile.

Why do you think your bank deserves to be awarded the SME Bank of the Year?

At KBC, our mobile application is a unique and complete solution for SMEs. SMEs can consult and/or purchase all their banking and insurance products digitally, but we also take care of our SMEs beyond banking. We focus on proactivity throughout the entire ecosystem of the entrepreneur, including administration, mobility, legal advice, etc...

On top of that our digital assistant Kate proactively helps, guides and supports entrepreneurs in their day to day activity. Our digital assistant is also available for any questions our SMEs might have 24/7 each day of the week, including weekends. Because we know that SMEs need all the support they can get, we want to position our digital assistant Kate as the CFO for every SME, proactively helping each SME to save time and money.

Kate saves our clients time and money and is a core element of our service – an enormous step forward in making our clients’ lives easier. Kate has been created as a digital assistant with the following core values:

  • Proactivity: based on data-driven insights (knowledge about the client)
  • Interactivity: conversational support for informed and comfortable decisions
  • Learning: Self-learning AI models to continuously offer the best service and solutions (detecting and taking into account the client’s personal preferences), improving existing processes and detecting opportunities for extra support. Kate will continuously learn from the interactions with and feedback from clients (direct and indirect)
  • Life companion: Kate evolves with the client, and is therefore always able to respond to their changing needs.

We created a complete all-in one proposition for entrepreneurs in KBC Mobile. For example, entrepreneurs no longer need to keep track on their expenses themselves. We proactively create a smart, AI-generated expense-overview for the entrepreneur to send to the accountant. 35% of our 350.000 SMEs in Mobile started using our dashboard within one month after the release.

Briefly describe, what are top 3 projects/achievements delivered by your bank in the last 18 months for SME customers?

  1. Business overview: we created a dashboard in Mobile where SMEs can see at a glance how their business is doing and get an overview on their outstanding to do’s. We focus on:
    • Convenience in payments: an overview of which invoices need to be payed and when. In the same overview a quick check to see if there is enough liquidity to pay them and if not, instantly request a credit line.
    • Follow-up  of invoices: making sure SMEs get payed with easy follow-up on which customers still owe them money. Not payed? We give SMEs the possibility to send reminders to their customers in one click. Still not payed? Instantly hire professional help to get their invoices payed.
    • Connection with the accountant: smooth delivery of invoices and expenses to the accountant. Entrepreneurs no longer need to keep track on their expenses themselves. We proactively create a smart, AI-generated expense-overview for the entrepreneur to send to the accountant. 35% of our 350.000 SMEs in Mobile started using our dashboard within one month after the release

      Check out more about the business section in KBC Mobile - KBC Banking & Insurance

  2. Business mobility: we have a large mobility offering in Mobile. Our private individuals and SMEs can arrange and pay for public transport, parking, fueling, car & bike sharing via Mobile, including a discount at some fuel stations.
    • For SMEs we have now bundled the mobility offering, which means SMEs can find all their mobility expenses on one summary invoice, and easily recover their VAT. Only one week after the release 1.500 SMEs activated this service.
    • Entrepreneurs really appreciate our efforts to make their lives easier: activating the Business mobility means less administration for our SMEs and an easier way to recover the VAT on our mobility services. With this service, and especially with the broad mobility offer within the service, we are unique in the market.

      Check out Zakelijke Mobiliteit - KBC Banking & Insurance

  3. Kate detects changes in bylaws and advises SMEs : 
    Kate proactively helps entrepreneurs in a dozen cases. We recently launched this legal representation case:
    • Our digital assistant Kate can detect in a data-driven way changes in the bylaws of the company using external data, such as adding or deleting legal representatives.
    • Upon detecting changes, Kate will advise our SMEs to take the necessary actions, such as taking care of the power of attorney's for the legal representative.
    • 50% of our entrepreneurs take the necessary actions when Kate advises them to.

      Find out more on how to Save time and money thanks to Kate in KBC Mobile

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