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KBC is Europe's most profitable bank
The Belgian bank and insurance group KBC is the most profitable among European banks, according to an analysis by the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. Its 18% return on equity (ROE) puts the group head and shoulders above its European peers.
ROE is the main financial measure for banks, as it reveals how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested. A low figure may be a sign that the company is not banking efficiently, has high credit losses, or is operating in the wrong market.
Deutsche Bank is the least profitable among the leading banks, according to the analysis, having suffered billions in losses for two years in a row due to fines and settlements, resulting in a negative ROE of -2%.
At the head of the list is KBC, with the highest score in Europe at 18% ROE. The Belgian bank's neighbours in the Netherlands, ABN Amro and ING complete the top three, with 11.8% and 11.6% ROE, respectively.
KBC owes its leading position primarily to its dominance in Belgium and the Czech Republic. The financial group also has a lucrative asset management branch, an activity that requires no expensive capital from the bank.