Jan 6, 2021

French neobank Anytime snapped up by Orange Bank

neobank
Orange Bank
Banking
Mobile banking
Rhys Thomas
2 min
The telco’s banking arm makes move into Europe’s SME market with plans to expand across the continent
The telco’s banking arm makes move into French SME market with plans to expand across the continent...

French neobank Anytime has been acquired by Orange Bank, extending the telco’s banking division into the SME and freelance professionals market. 

The merger will provide Orange Bank, launched in France three years ago as a consumer bank, with greater access to the nation's small business market, a flourishing sector of more than three million enterprises, according to European Commission figures.  

Profitable since 2018, Anytime offers SMEs mobile banking solutions to simplify financial management. Services include invoicing and management of pending invoices, automatic account updates and various cash flow optimisation tools. It will continue to offer these services while operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary under its current management, including co-founders Damien Dupouy and Thierry Peyre, who say the merger “will enable us to offer a greater range of business services”. 

These include a suite of new financial and digital management tools tailored to small businesses, alongside loans and insurance, financial advice and further halo effects of the wider Orange brand. 

European roll out

In the short term, Anytime will continue to offer services through its own app and website, though accounts and services will gradually be weaved into Orange’s other channels, including its network of bricks and mortar stores. Beginning in Anytime’s domestic French market, Orange says it will target SMEs and freelancers in other European countries in the future, rolling out services across the continent. 

“Anytime’s entry into the Orange Bank family marks a new development opportunity for us in a high-value market segment while establishing strong synergies with Orange Bank and Orange,” says Paul de Leusse, CEO of Orange Bank


Pictured (L-R): Paul de Leusse, Stéphane Richard and Damien Dupouy

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Jun 17, 2021

Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem

Zafin
Banking
Technology
Digital
3 min
FinTech Magazine holds a Q&A session with John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, on the evolution of banking and its future as an aspect of tech ecosystems

The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?

John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.

Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:  

Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?

It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started. 

While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk. 

Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand. 

I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.  

When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic. 

Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?

I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.

Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.  

The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC. 

I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives. 

Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss? 

Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement. 

Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.

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