Orange Bank preps July launch

French telco Orange is to open its new mobile-only bank in July, following a soft-launch with employees this month.

The new bank stems from Orange’s acquisition of a 65% stake in Groupama Banque las year. Customers will be able to subscribe directly through the mobile app, via the website or in one of Orange’s 140 accredited stores.

Featuring current and saving accounts, contactless mobile payments and P2p payments from the outset, the unit has set itself an ultimate goal of attracting two million customers in France and EUR400 million in revenues by end-2018.

The 100% mobile bank also comes equipped with an AI-based virtual assistant, primed to answer customer queries and act as the first point of contact for users. The IBM Watson-powered AI agent will direct customers to a team of 100 human staff for more complex queries.

Up-and-coming features include insurance products and loans, plus an API for fintech startups to connect to the bank’s platform.

Stéphane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange, says: “Orange Bank will build on the professional skills of its banking experts, the disruptive capability of its partnerships with start-ups and of course the traditional assets of Orange: its distribution network, its expertise in digital services as well as its financial strength.”