Orange, which has 28m mobile clients in France will now be able to launch Orange Bank, a fully fledged mobile banking service, in France from as early as the start of next year.
As French banks face increasing investor pressure to embrace new technology and reduce costs. Société Générale promised late last year to close 20 per cent of branches by 2020, breaking a long-held French taboo against announcing big cuts, and was rewarded by a jump in the share price. Shutting branches has proved difficult in France, where firing staff is often tricky and where there is also pressure on banks to be good corporate citizens by keeping branches open. As a result, the country has one of the highest bank branches per capita ratios in Europe with nearly six per 10,000 people — three times that of the UK and more than Italy and Germany, according to data from SNL Financial.