Orange to launch French mobile banking service in July

Orange has announced a start date for its long-awaited Orange Bank, which promises a 100% mobile service. The company said that it will be available to Orange employees in France from mid-May and then to the public from 6 July.

Group CEO Stéphane Richard said at the launch in Paris: “We are writing an important new chapter in the group’s history. From now on, Orange is also a bank. A bank that places customer experience at the heart of its business model.”

Orange moved into the banking industry in 2016 by buying a 65% stake in the banking division of the Groupama insurance company, which it renamed Orange Bank. Marc Rennard, the senior Orange executive who is CEO of Orange’s banking activities, told Global Telecoms Business last year that he expected the operation to expand to Belgium and Spain in time. However Orange made no mention of that in today’s announcement.

The company repeated Rennard’s target, given in the GTB interview, that it aims to have more than 2 million customers in France. “The objective is to reach €400 million in revenues in 2018 in the financial services field across all markets,” though that figure seems to include mobile money services in Africa and its banking operation in Poland, Orange Finanse.

Orange said customers in France will be able to carry out “mobile payments, bank transfers by SMS, real-time account balance, the temporary suspension of the debit card from the app” and get “help from the virtual assistant 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.

The operator added: “At Orange Bank, 100% of the transactions and interactions between the customer and the bank can be carried out from the customer’s mobile phone.” Richard said: “Orange Bank will build on the professional skills of its banking experts, the disruptive capability of its partnerships with start-ups and of course the traditional assets of Orange: its distribution network, its expertise in digital services as well as its financial strength.” 

Branding fans will possibly be dismayed by the fact that Orange has modified its famous square logo for the bank. The logo, originally designed by Wally Olins for Hutchison’s mobile launch in the UK in 1994, was taken over by the former France Telecom six years later and has been kept unchanged since then. But Orange has added a black square behind the orange square for its banking service.