From the desk of DARA DEERING, executive director of KBC Bank Ireland
Describe your role?
I am executive director and head of retail banking at KBC Bank Ireland. I am a member of the bank’s executive committee and board of directors. I lead KBC’s strategy of offering a broad suite of retail financial services products and expanding customer reach through digital and physical channels.
The Business in Context?
KBC is a Belgian bank with a digitally-led, customer-focused strategy and more than 35,000 staff. We have 1,100 employees in Ireland and operate eleven retail hubs around the country.
Your company’s priorities?
To offer a distinctive customer experience so that more consumers chose KBC for their primary banking relationship. We will open five new hubs this year.
A typical day?
I am an early riser (even at weekends) so I like to get to the office early and catch up on social media feedback from our customers and also take time to review what is in the papers. I also tend to have a lot of meetings to review new proposals or manage progress on new customer initiatives. I try to spend time every day understanding how our channels are performing and hearing customer insights. I end most days with a trip to the gym.
What keeps you awake at night?
I am not a worrier by nature but my passion for delivering a great customer experience in our business means I am constantly thinking about how we can improve our offering for our existing customers and become more attractive to new customers.
The accomplishment you are most proud of?
The opportunity to launch a new digitally-led and customer-focused retail bank in Ireland at a time when the sector remains challenged and trust remains low. I am proud of the fact that although we are not a traditional retail bank, we work hard to manage relationships with customers online and over the phone, supported by physical hubs.
How do you handle a difficult situation?
I tend to be calm in a crisis, approaching a difficult situation by establishing the facts, then working through options in a calm non-emotional way to determine the best outcome. I also believe in taking soundings from others not directly involved so that I get an objective view.
Adjectives people might use to describe you?
Dynamic, results-driven, determined, challenging.
How long does it take to get ready in the morning?
I’m well rehearsed by now – I am down to 30 minutes. I am very proud of this!
Outside of the office?
I am a passionate Dublin GAA supporter and love Dublin football matches. I love to go to the gym and in the past year I have taken up TRX training – it’s tough, so for that hour I think about nothing else! It helps me unwind and gives me energy.
Favourite thing to do with Family and Friends?
I love cooking a good meal and having family and friends over for a relaxing time with lots of chat. While material things don’t mean much to me, I appreciate being able to eat out or go on a holiday.
From the May 2015 issue of THE GLOSS Magazine.