Orange gets green light for new banking venture with Groupama Banque

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Orange is pressing ahead with plans to establish a new banking service under the name of Orange Bank after it gained approval to buy a 65 per cent stake in Groupama Banque.

The France-based operator signed an agreement with Groupama in April with the aim of providing a mobile banking service under the Orange brand from January 2017. The French insurance group will retain a 35 per cent stake.

Regulatory and prudential authorities in France and Europe have now approved the deal, which means Orange will be able to start marketing the banking services during the first half of 2017.

The decision to provide banking services forms part of Orange’s diversification strategy to create new revenue streams. The operator has already stated that its target is to “ultimately” attract more than 2 million banking customers in France.

Jean-Bernard Mateu, Europe and France mobile financials services director at Orange, said the company expects to meet this target in a few years.

“We haven’t set a specific date, but developing mobile banking and financial services is a key part of our Essentials2020 activity. We don’t disclose revenue targets,” Mateu said.

André Coisne has been appointed CEO of Orange Bank, which is part of Orange Group’s customer experience and mobile banking function led by deputy CEO Marc Rennard.

Coisne was appointed project director for Orange Bank in July, and before that held a number of positions in the financial services sector, most recently serving as CEO at BforBank and CEO of ING Direct France.

John Delaney, associate VP for mobility at research company IDC Europe, previously noted that Orange's plan to enter the banking sector would put it in competition with established banking groups that the operator has partnered with to launch services including Orange Cash.

Mateu commented: “Orange Bank will sit alongside existing services like Orange Cash in Europe or Orange Money in MEA,” although he gave no further details.

He did add that there are plans for more services in future, but said Orange is not yet in a position to communicate what these will be.

“Our ambition to is to create a simple and transparent banking service, distinctive in terms of customer experience, mobile and digital-focused, competitive and customer-focused,” Mateu said.

Orange Bank will offer purely mobile banking services including current accounts, savings accounts, credit and payments. The offer will also be distributed across Groupama Group’s networks from the second half of 2017.

For more:
- see the Orange release

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