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Orange to launch mobile banking service


French telecom operator Orange is set to acquire a majority stake in financial services firm Groupama in an agreement that will enable Orange to develop and launch an entirely mobile banking service.

This acquisition is the result of ongoing discussions between the two companies since January. Once the deal is completed, Orange will have a 65% stake in Groupama Banque, with Groupama retaining the remaining 35%.

The new bank, which will be called Orange Bank, will launch a banking service specifically designed for mobile usage in France at the beginning of 2017.

The mobile banking service will be marketed under the Orange brand within Orange’s own distribution network, as well as under the Groupama brand within Groupama’s distribution networks.

Through Orange Bank, Orange and Groupama will offer a range of critical banking services over a completely mobile platform.

The services — which will cover current accounts, savings, loans and insurance services, and payment — aim to attract over two million customers in France.

“Groupama Banque will bring an existing banking structure as well as considerable experience in managing customer relations remotely within a banking context,” said Stéphane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange. “This will enable us to move forward rapidly in order to provide our customers with an innovative, 100% mobile banking service, first in France and then in Spain and Belgium. By leveraging the power of its brand, its distribution network and its extensive experience in digital services, Orange aims to bring mobile banking into a new dimension.”

“This partnership represents an important step for Groupama,” said Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama. “It will enable us to leverage Orange’s technical know-how and its expertise in digital services to accelerate our existing online banking activity. Through this partnership, we are effectively combining two powerful and complimentary brands in order to offer our customers a disruptive banking service. We are aiming to put the highstreet bank into our customers’ pockets, turning tomorrow’s bank into today’s reality.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2016, subject to the approval of the relevant controlling authorities.

Earlier this month, mobile-only startup Atom Bank went live in the UK following the lifting of regulatory restrictions. The bank uses face and voice biometrics plus machine learning technology to authenticate and service clients.

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