PARIS, April 20 French telecoms company Orange
plans to launch its online banking service nationwide
on July 6, aiming to take on traditional banks with a low-cost
offering that will eventually expand into loans and insurance.
Along with growth in Africa and the Middle East, France's
biggest telecoms operator sees its new banking services as a key
driver for growth, hoping to lure some 2 million customers over
France's largest online banks, ING Direct and SocGen's
Boursorama, currently have around 1 million clients each.
Orange said on Thursday customers would be able to use an
instant, secure mobile payment service as well as a free debit
card. Its online app will also make it possible for users to
transfer money via a text message to another Orange account.
"The offer will gradually grow into credit and insurance,"
the company said in a statement.
The bank aims to break even in four to five years, Orange
chief executive Stephane Richard said.
Orange Bank was formed after the acquisition of a 65 percent
stake in Groupama Banque last year.
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva;
Editing by Mark Potter)