Telco giant Orange launches its own bank on Thursday, aiming to win 25 percent of France’s online banking market by capitalizing on the rising use of smartphones to steal share from established lenders with inferior technology. Laura Frykberg reports.
A squeeze on profits in the telecommunications sector, has seen Orange become the newest bank. The French telecommunication giant says it's now offering banking services. Particularly targeting the online and smartphone market. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR ORANGE BANK, ANDRE COISNE, SAYING: "When you see the explosion of mobile use in France and the world you wonder why not add finance services to the mobile phone functionalities?" Orange's is starting small with with about 25,000 customers showing interest so far. But launching instant mobile payments and an App with text options to transfer money, means the move's ripe for growth. Last year more than 793 million banking payments were made online in France, up from 586.2 million in 2014. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR ORANGE BANK, ANDRE COISNE, SAYING: "Your mobile is now a way to pay for things. Today you can buy a baguette and a transport ticket with your mobile phone. So there's a logic for those two worlds to meet and Orange has many assets to start this new service." Some rival banking executives vying for the online market too have expressed concern about their new competitor. Perhaps rightfully so. If Orange's target of 2 million customers in up to 10 years bears fruit, it would be at their expense.