BNP Paribas is planning to open a new online bank this year as it seeks to cut costs by shifting customers away from expensive branch-based services, according to local reports.
French finance daily Les Echos says that the new, pure-digital offering - which could be called 'Hello Bank' - is set to launch by the end of the quarter.
BNP Paribus hopes to have 25,000 customers for the unit by the end of the year, rising to 500,000 within five years, 150,000 of which would be existing account holders.
Although BNP users already have access to online services, the bank hopes that by offering a standalone digital account it can wean customers off of expensive branch services.
The new player will take advantage of the move to fast-growing mobile and tablet channels, as well as heavy integration with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, predicts Les Echos.