Telenor Group has opened up for business its first wholly-owned financial institution, Telenor banka, which operates in Serbia. By focusing on online financial services and mobile banking, Telenor says it’s looking to stimulate financial and economic growth in a country where 80 per cent of transactions are currently done by cash.

“Telenor Banka is an example of how we can contribute to the digitalisation and development of society, while at the same time responding to the needs of individuals by offering simple and on-the-go mobile solutions,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas (pictured), Telenor Group’s chief executive. “The mobile phone is the essence to simpler money transfers, readily accessible savings accounts, new methods of bill payment and even insurance products.”

Kjell-Morten Johnsen, EVP and head of Telenor Europe, said the operator was currently evaluating the establishment of financial services in other Telenor markets in the region. “As market conditions vary across Europe, the approach might be different from the one in Serbia,” he added.

Telenor Group, which entered Serbia in 2006, bought KBC Banka in 2013. As part of its agreement with MasterCard, consumers in Serbia will be able to access the bank’s own and other ATMs for money withdrawals and deposits. All transactions can be handled via an app on mobile phone, tablet or PC.

Telenor says it has 3.1 million customers in Serbia, which has a population of about 7 million.