KBC Bank Ireland is opening its first high street retail bank in Dublin today.

The branch will open on Baggot Street in Dublin city centre and is KBC's first step into the retail space here.

The bank has been operating in the Irish mortgage and deposit market already for the past few years.

The Belgian bank first established here 40 years ago when it concentrated mainly on corporate lending.

The bank's chief executive John Reynolds said the opening of the Dublin office is the first phase of an expansion programme by KBC which will see the bank invest in new retail locations in a number of cities in Ireland in the coming years.

The chief executive said that KBC has added over 100 employees in Ireland during 2012 to bring total employment at the bank to 700. He said the opening of its new retail location is a reflection of the increase in new customers joining the bank.

''Our focus is on being a leading retail bank, providing attractive savings, mortgage and other financial services to consumers. We are committed to providing sustainable competition in the Irish market'', Mr Reynolds said.

KBC Bank’s Headquarters is in Sandwith Street, Dublin and it has offices in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Belfast.