Posted Apr 21, 2022, 6:51 PM
Orange is relaunching major works in its bank. The telecom operator has decided to merge Orange Bank with its new Spanish branch, according to information from “Le Monde”, confirmed by several sources. The operation should in particular make it possible to pool IT, back-office and risk management activities.
It will result in staff reductions, with around thirty fewer people, out of a total of 820, exclusively through the non-replacement of natural departures. “No social plan is planned”, assures a well-informed source.
This reorganization aims in particular to develop and deploy a new unified IT platform, which will be usable in the various European countries where Orange Bank operates, but also in those where it wishes to develop.
Enough to generate savings and help the subsidiary of the telecom operator, launched in 2017, to reach financial equilibrium by 2024. Last year, it still posted operating losses of 182 million euros. In total, since its creation, Orange Bank has lost more than 800 million euros.
Banking strategy was a priority for former boss Stéphane Richard, convinced of the convergence between telecoms and finance. His replacement in early April by Christel Heydemann, the former boss of Schneider Electric France, raises the question of the longer-term future of the business.
Sole master on board
The development of the new IT platform, which is already in operation in Spain, where Orange Bank has been present since the end of 2019, should enable the neobank to resolve recurring problems in this area in France. The telecom operator had basically inherited the IT infrastructure of Groupama Banque, which it had bought to launch its own bank. But the tool turned out to be expensive and ill-suited to the subsidiary’s growth ambitions.
Last year, after looking in vain for a new banking partner, Orange decided to buy the shares still held by the insurer, which was no longer intended to support the development of the bank, and even less to absorb its losses. . Sole master on board, the historic operator can now launch the IT reorganization and continue the expansion of its subsidiary in Europe.
In addition to Spain and France, Orange also intends to deploy its banking activities in countries where it is already present in telecoms, such as Belgium, Romania and Poland.