Orange Bank Moves Into Lending Market, Confirms Expansion In Africa

Orange Bank has celebrated two years in business with a presentation on its recent and future projects. Since its French launch in November 2017, the company has developed several new services and has recently introduced personal loans offered to Orange mobile customers buying a smartphone and other devices. Available since October, these over-the-counter loans have been taken out by 5,000 people since their launch a month ago. By the end of the year, the Orange subsidiary will start financing property purchases in collaboration with Nexity, a real estate services platform that Stephane Richard founded with other partners nearly 20 years ago.

Outside France, Orange Bank is already present in Spain where its services are under trial and are scheduled to launch commercially very soon. The company has also secured a licence to operate in Africa, where it should arrive in the middle of 2020. In Romania, it introduced a debit card offer earlier this year, which is currently signing up over 7,000 new customers per month.

With a workforce of 878 employees, the French operations aim to become profitable by 2023-2024. In the latest financial release, Orange said that the EBITDA after Leases (EBITDAaL) result remained negative for its banking venture, with the loss widening to EUR 115 million in the nine months to September, from a loss of EUR 92 million in the year-earlier period.

In 2020, the bank will expand its French offering further, by acting as an insurance broker in connection with smartphone plans (theft/damage cover). It is also working on new services targeting Orange small business customers, scheduled for 2021. In the near future, it plans to make Google Pay available for customers with Android phones.

Orange Bank said that it is signing up over 20,000 new customers per month and that its active base has now reached 500,000. The company told La Tribune that this total includes 360,000 current accounts and 135,000 personal loans. It had previously reported 344,000 accounts opened as of 30 September, up from 320,000 at end-June.

Around 10 percent of new accounts are being opened with the Visa Premium card, which has been available since March for a charge of EUR 7.99/month. Among its selling points, the card offers a 5 percent cash back when holders purchase smartphones and other devices sold by Orange.

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