Orange, Groupama Banque Developing Mobile Bank (Jan. 5, 2016)
Orange is not resting on its laurels with its award-winning Orange Cash mobile wallet as it prepares to enter the mobile banking sector. The Paris-based mobile operator yesterday announced a partnership with France-based Groupama Banque to build out Orange’s offerings by developing a completely mobile bank. The partnership enables Orange to offer banking services with the launch of Orange Bank while beefing up Groupama’s online banking business. Orange Bank will offer standard banking services, such as savings accounts, loans and insurance services, among others.
The partnership also could lead to Orange acquiring a 65 percent stake in Groupama Banque, according to Orange, which has 28 million customers in France, and received the 2015 Best-in-Category honor for Mobile Wallet of the Year in Paybefore Awards Europe for its Orange Cash mobile wallet from Wirecard. Following success in France, Orange Cash now is available in Spain.
“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,” said Orange CEO Stéphane Richard. The next market for Orange Bank includes Spain or Belgium, according to the company.
The deal between the two companies will expand current banking apps available on smartphones to create a virtual bank and insurance branch accessible to consumers through their mobile devices, Groupama CEO Thierry Martel explained.
Orange’s partnership with Groupama Banque follows failed attempts by Weve, a U.K. telco-led mobile wallet joint venture between O2, Vodafone and EE; and Softcard, which Google bought from AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon and shuttered early last year. The demises of Weve and Softcard possibly underscore the importance of tying up with an existing financial services company rather joining with rival telcos in developing these offerings.