Orange Acquires Groupama to Diversify Into Banking Services

Groupama and Orange say they have entered into exclusive negotiations with a view to working in partnership to develop a new banking model that will allow Groupama to strengthen its online banking service and Orange to successfully diversify into banking services.

This negotiation will lead in Orange acquiring 65% stake of Groupama Banque, enabling it to benefit from an existing operational infrastructure for the launch of Orange Bank.

Since its inception, Groupama Banque has positioned itself as a multichannel bank. Orange will provide its digital knowledge to develop a 100% mobile offer corresponding to new uses increasingly employed by the two partners’ customers. The partnership with Orange will accelerate the deployment of such innovative banking offers and will leverage the network of local Orange stores as well as the high street branches of Groupama and its subsidiary Gan.

The launch of “Orange Bank” is expected early in 2017 in France, followed by other European markets such as Spain or Belgium. The services offered will cover all standard banking services as well as savings, loans and insurance services.

During the presentation of its strategic plan “Essentiels2020” in March 2015, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange, announced the Group’s ambition to diversify its operations by capitalizing on its assets and in particular by focusing its efforts on mobile banking, which offers important growth prospects. The plan’s objective is to reach 400 million euros of revenues in financial services in 2018.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Stéphane Richard said, “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. This legitimacy in the world of financial services has already materialized with the success of ‘Orange Money’ in the Middle East and Africa region, and more recently with the successful launch of ‘Orange Finanse’ in Poland.

“Our partnership with Groupama, which has recognized expertise and key assets in the areas of both banking and insurance, will enable us to accelerate the implementation of our strategic ambition to be able to offer our customers Orange Bank services in France from the beginning of 2017.”

Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama, said, “This partnership sits perfectly with Groupama’s strategy, which has always focused offering broad-ranging, innovative services to our policyholders and customers. From its creation, Groupama Banque has set itself apart from traditional banking models by offering its customers unprecedented benefits. Orange’s technological leadership and the ubiquity of mobile phones will enable us to move forwards, faster and further, to create a bank that factors in all the possibilities and the fluidity that is inherent in today’s technology. In a word, and without revealing the innovations at this stage, Orange’s know-how and expertise in robust digital systems will enable us to go beyond online banking applications that are currently available on smartphones in order to transform users’ mobiles into 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. We are very proud and happy.”

An expansion of the offering’s banking services seems to be already being planned by Orange with its new initiatives in this direction.

Priti Thakur

Priti has keen interest in digital money and fintech startups . She completed her B-School education this year and likes to write about innovation with respect to digital payments.

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