Regulatory authorities in France and Europe have approved Orange’s acquisition of Groupama Banque, which will be renamed Orange Bank in January 2017 and specifically target mobile users.

Orange wants to convert two million mobile subscribers, or around seven percent of its French base, to financial services. Launches in Spain and Belgium are set to follow.

The deal, first announced in January, will see the French telecoms group purchase 65 percent of the capital of the banking arm of insurance firm Groupama. The new entity will be part of the company’s customer experience and mobile banking function, led Marc Rennard, Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

André Coisne, recruited from Paris-based online bank BforBank in July to lead the project, has been appointed as its Chief Executive Officer.

Customers will be able to subscribe directly through the mobile app, via the website or in one of Orange’s 140 accredited stores. The offer will include current accounts, savings accounts, credit and payments from launch. It will also be distributed across Groupama Group’s networks from the second half of 2017.

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, said: “This partnership with Groupama is an important step forward that will lead to the development of an innovative, 100 percent mobile offer that meets new customer expectations for simplicity, transparency and personalisation.”

Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama, said: “With the launch of Orange Bank, Orange and Groupama will work together to develop a new and disruptive model for banking services that will offer an unprecedented customer experience.”

He added: “Groupama is joining forces with Orange to build the bank of the future.”

Orange plans to generate €400 million of revenues at Group level from financial services by 2018.

Late last year, the company launched banking service Finanse in Poland in partnership with Commerzbank. The project has yielded 250,000 customers since Q4 last year.

At Mobile World Congress in February, Orange executive Laurent Paillassot claimed the operator had a window of five to seven years before rivals could offer a similar service.

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