Telecommunications company Orange is looking to diversify into financial services by acquiring a 65% stake in France's Groupama Banque with a view to opening a mobile-led bank in 2017.
The launch of 'Orange Bank' is planned for the start of 2017 in France, followed by other European markets such as Spain or Belgium. The services offered will cover all standard banking productss as well as savings, loans and insurance services.
The stake in Groupama Banque will enable the mobile operator to benefit from an existing operational infrastructure and a high street presence combining its own storefronts with the branch network of Groupama and its subsidiary Gan.
Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange, says the ambition is to reach EUR400 million of revenues in financial services in 2018.
“Orange benefits from a unique combination of essential assets that will enable it to successfully launch a highly innovative, 100% mobile bank. These include a strong brand embodying key values such as security and reliability, a solid distribution network and above all the confidence of 28 million customers in France."
Orange has already dipped its toes into financial services with the operation of the Orange Money wallet in the Middle East and Africa region, and more recently with the launch of ‘Orange Finanse’ in Poland.
Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama, says the combination will create a virtual bank and insurance branch "that is always at hand".
"We are working on a genuine Bank 4.0: once you have tried it, it will be difficult to do things any other way. Our two leading brands, which have always been pioneers in our respective markets, are joining forces to create a ground-breaking innovation in the financial sector.”