Orange is moving to launch a mobile-first bank in 2017. People have been harping on about Digital Convergence for ages now. But this is a great example of what it actually means for the end customer. New firms, leveraging their existing technology capability, to launch new services in an adjacent market sector that is not innovating fast enough. A few years ago it would have seemed strange that the company currently offering you a phone contract would potentially replace your bank. But somehow it doesn’t seem that out of place anymore.
Orange will be launching the service in France in 2017, and then begin rolling out to other European markets. They have acquired a 65% stake in Groupama Banque to provide the service, and will focus on delivering using mobile as the channel for customer delivery. The reason for this approach is that mobile technology and smartphone penetration have grown significantly enough on a global scale to make delivery of this service possible. Also. their offering will not simply be more of the same banking services. The aim is to transform users mobiles into a fully functional virtual bank that offers a range of products including insurance, health, loan and savings initiatives.
Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama said “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”.
Personally I think think this is a great move. Orange has the technology background to offer a good customer centric approach to banking which will be reinforced by their mobile first approach. They can move way ahead of the traditional retail banks that are struggling to drag their legacy business into the digital age.