Orange Bank Africa goes live with Temenos and NSIA in Côte d’Ivoire
Orange Bank Africa has gone live with Swiss banking software provider Temenos. NSIA Group – a West African insurance, banking and technology provider – helped Orange create the bank.
The telecom firm’s bank is tapping the continent’s West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) region. The bank is based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. It is set to expand to Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.
Headed up by Jean-Louis Menann-Kouamé, the bank will offer customers a range of simple savings and micro credit services via its Orange Money service.
Customers will be able to borrow as little as 5,000 CFA francs ($8.72) instantly through their mobile phone.
“Banking is a new area of business for Orange in Africa,” says Orange’s chairman and CEO, Stéphane Richard.
“It falls squarely in line with our strategy as a multi-service operator and our desire to drive the digital transformation forward in Africa.”
The bank will use Temenos Transact. The Swiss firms says it implemented the product remotely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Temenos’ partner, MCB Consulting, helped with the remote implementation. The Swiss firm’s core banking technology rests on Microsoft Azure.
“Telcos like Orange are particularly well placed to offer differentiated banking services and enhanced customer experiences,” says Temenos’ chief operating officer, Jean-Michel Hilsenkopf.
He cites telcos’ established client base and mobile-centric capabilities – a big driver for financial services adoption across Sub-Saharan Africa.
NSIA helped Orange co-found the African bank. The firm has three banks of its own, as well as 21 insurance companies.
“We know that electronic banking is vital for the financial inclusion of our customers,” says NSIA’a CEO, Jean Kacou Diagou.
“We are proud to have combined our expertise and human capital with that of Orange to create the fully digital Orange Bank Africa.”
Orange Money’s footprint
Through Orange Money, the telco has quietly acquired 45 million customers over the last eleven years across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer service is one of a handful offered by firms dominating the region, including MTN Group, Globacom, Airtel, Vodafone, and PayPal.
With 396 million registered mobile money users at the end of 2018, Orange holds roughly 11.4% of the market.
“Traditional banks didn’t react to what we did,” Orange Money’s deputy CEO, Paul De Leusse, told FinTech Futures in March. Orange Money launched in 2008, he added, and the banks have still done “nothing”.
Regulations have, however, evolved in certain African countries. The central banks of Nigeria and Kenya have both issued licences for mobile operators to carry out banking services.
Some banks are therefore aware that they can no longer simply rely on their own branch networks to tap customers.