Groupama leaves the Orange Bank adventure

Finally, Orange will pursue the Orange Bank adventure on its own, which began in November 2017 alongside Groupama. The group announced Friday 1is October have reached an agreement with the mutual insurer to buy back its 21.7% stake in their joint subsidiary. At the same time, he revealed the completion of a new capital increase, of 230 million euros, to support the development of the neobank, which is still showing losses.

The first telecom operator to diversify in the mid-2010s into mobile banking, a booming sector at the time, the group led by Stéphane Richard caused a sensation. In order not to start from scratch, Orange decided to buy 65% ​​of the capital of Groupama’s remote banking. But from the start, the two partners did not share the same ambitions.

650 million euros in losses

First of all, they do not operate under the same brand. The insurer retains the historic name of Groupama Banque, created in 2003. Orange Bank does not offer the same products or the same prices if you are an Orange customer or a member of the mutual network.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Why Groupama wants to leave Orange Bank

Groupama also does not intend to burn cash to develop Orange Bank internationally, beyond France and Spain, where it is already present and has 1.6 million customers. Orange, on the other hand, wants to build a pan-European platform and is particularly fueling projects in Eastern Europe. While banking activity suffers from very low (even negative) interest rates, tensions appear between the two shareholders. Mobile banking accounts are deteriorating very quickly, accumulating nearly 650 million euros in losses since its launch. Groupama ended up refusing to subscribe to the capital increases of Orange Bank, necessary to absorb these losses and push the fires internationally.

Stéphane Richard, who initiated and carried the Orange Bank project, warned in April that Orange would resign himself to “continue alone”

The boss of Groupama, Thierry Martel finally asks Orange to buy back his shares. The operator then sets out to find an investor to take over this stake, which has fallen to 21.7% of the capital of their joint subsidiary. In vain. The main French institutions – BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Crédit Agricole, BPCE – are looking at the file, without taking action. Stéphane Richard, who initiated and carried the Orange Bank project, warned in April that Orange would resign itself to “Continue alone” if he could not find a new industrial partner. A scenario now confirmed.

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