Patrick Roussel, executive vice president of MEA Mobile Financial Services with the company, explained in the release that the new mobile banking service grew out of the company’s original Orange Bank money transfer service launched in 2008. The original intent of the company was to help those without access to the usual banking services, often helping those who lacked employment contracts or identification as they worked in more informal jobs.
The new mobile banking app, he said in the release, will aim to offer an alternative to traditional banks’ mobile apps. He said the sign-up process is all automated, which will help to quickly verify if a potential customer is eligible with enough income to ensure the risk level is low for the bank.
Roussel said in the release that the new project is the result of the collaboration with NSIA, the Ivorian banker-insurer that mostly works with business markets. NSIA “wanted to take advantage of the adoption of digital in financial services to better address individual customers,” according to Roussel, which he called a “winning bet” for the company.
First, the new app intends to launch in Côte d’Ivoire, which is where Orange’s head office is located. Once approved by regulator Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO), it will then expand to Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso, Roussel said in the release.
Roussel said he wants to garner 10 million customers and 100 million euros ($116 million) within five years. He added that he isn’t ruling out expanding the mobile banking service to business customers or small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) later on.
Orange Bank grew out of Orange’s primary telecom business, the first such business to branch into banking services in the Western world, PYMNTS reported. Its then-CEO, Andre Coisne, has roots in online banking, having previously launched online banks in France for ING Direct and Credit Agricole’s BforBank.