Europe1 .fr with AFP/Photo credits: JEAN-MARC BARRERE / HANS LUCAS / HANS LUCAS VIA AFP 12:42 p.m., February 27, 2024

BNP Paribas intends to take over Orange Bank customers as part of an agreement announced on Tuesday which organizes the transfer of customers to its subsidiaries Hello bank in France and Cetelem in Spain.

Since June, the two groups have been negotiating a takeover of Orange's online banking customers, launched with great fanfare by former CEO Stéphane Richard in 2017, and whose future had been in suspense since the start of the year against a backdrop of chronic deficit.

As part of a “referencing agreement”, Hello bank “offers Orange Bank customers in France an exclusive offer and provides them with a simplified process and dedicated support” to transfer their accounts, explain the two companies in a joint press release.

The offer - consisting in particular of bonuses for subscribing to different offers or even a preferential temporary savings rate - is available from today, specifies BNP Paribas.

Hello bank currently claims “more than 800,000 customers”.

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In Spain, a “commercial agreement” was found to ensure “continuity” for customers, who will be transferred “during 2024” to Cetelem.

“Whether in France or Spain, customers can still use banking accounts and services until they receive a personalized communication from Orange Bank indicating the next steps to come,” specify the two groups.

“A simple and smooth transition”

“Our teams are already mobilized to provide a simple and smooth transition for Orange Bank customers in France and Spain who will be able to benefit from all the services of the BNP Paribas group,” noted Thierry Laborde, Managing Director delegate of BNP Paribas, in the press release.

Orange Bank was launched on the basis of the banking activities recently acquired from the insurer Groupama.

But the dedicated subsidiary had been loss-making since its creation and the new general director of Orange, Christel Heydemann, announced at the beginning of 2023 a "strategic review" on the future of the subsidiary dedicated to financial services, a usual circumlocution when there is a project to sell or close a branch of business.

Orange Bank, which claimed 3.1 million customers in Europe and Africa at the end of March 2023, aims to close this activity in France and Spain by 2025-2026.

The procedure for transferring customers through a commercial offer - and not a repurchase strictly speaking - recalls the agreement reached between Société Générale and ING as part of its withdrawal from the French market.

The online banking subsidiary of Société Générale, Boursorama, was able to recover 315,000 ING customers in a few months, or around two thirds of eligible customers, thanks to a preferential offer.

After offloading OCS and Orange Studio last January, the objective for Orange is to refocus its activities, in accordance with the strategic plan.