Challenger Bank Banco CTT Launches New Partner Portal to Fuel Mortgage Lending Growth

Portuguese challenger bank, Banco CTT, needed to improve the experience of customers applying for mortgages. Delighting its network of 500 mortgage loan business partners was a top priority if it was to win market share. In six months with OutSystems and the support of OutSystems partner askblue, Banco CTT launched a first-of-its-kind mortgage origination portal, that provides partners and their customers a frictionless mortgage application experience. The results—just seven months after go-live—suggest Banco CTT is off to a flying start, with increased lending, significant efficiency savings, and newfound loyalty from happy partners.


Increased mortgage approvals

Increased mortgage approvals

Reduced back office processing staff from 6 to 2

Reduced back office processing staff from 6 to 2

4x efficiency increase

4x efficiency increase

4 full-time developers

4 full-time developers

Luís Brites Santos
“We’ve achieved our goal of being the first to market. And using the OutSystems low-code platform, we’ve been able to give our partners an improved and integrated experience that is helping us grow.”Luís Brites Santos, Mortgage Loans Business Director, Banco CTT

A Partner Network in Need of a Platform

Challenge - Created by Portugal’s long-established postal service, Banco CTT is a challenger bank that aims to deliver convenience, transparency, and value for money to thousands of retail banking customers. Simplicity and customer-centric innovation are at the heart of the bank’s growth strategy.

Although newly established, Banco CTT has risen rapidly to join the ranks of Portugal’s major banks. On its first day of trading in early 2016, the bank opened 52 branches simultaneously, and today it has around 210 branches. Now established as a trusted provider of banking services for over 400,000 citizens, Banco CTT set its sights on the mortgage lending market.

The bank’s mortgage origination process relied on human-powered workflow. Almost every hand-off throughout the process involved manual procedures.

“Whether applications came directly to us from a branch or a partner, an important part of our daily work was handled manually, which slowed down the process and adversely affected the customer experience,” explains Pedro Bastos Marques, Regulatory Controller at Banco CTT.

Although these practices were typical across the industry, as a new market entrant Banco CTT had the opportunity to streamline the end-to-end mortgage approval process. By simplifying its processes and focusing on the needs of its customers and partners, the bank knew it could gain a competitive advantage.

“We wanted to give our partners much more autonomy,” says Pedro. “By giving them the ability to track the progress of their applications with automated status alerts, they’d be able to provide their customers with a much better service.”

Banco CTT realized that none of its Portuguese competitors had such a solution. “Getting a solution like this to market before a competitor would give us a significant advantage and help us engage more deeply with our partner network,” says Pedro.

A Portal for One-Stop Origination Management

Solution - Banco CTT set out to create a portal to provide a seamless mortgage origination process to its partner network. The bank’s initial vision included the following capabilities:

  • Make partners autonomous, so they could onboard their own applications without having to send information by email and rely on bank staff for data input.
  • Allow partners to prepare simulated mortgage quotes, and then progress these as mortgage applications.
  • Provide self-service tracking, so partners no longer needed to ask for status updates.
  • Provide transparent details to each partner regarding their deals and commissions.

Banco CTT had already used OutSystems to create invoice and purchase approval workflows. This gave the bank a high degree of confidence that the low-code platform could solve their origination challenges, not least because they had already integrated with several of the back-office systems that the new solution would require.

With support from askblue, a Portuguese award-winning OutSystems implementation partner, the solution took six months to deliver—including five months of development, and one month for testing. The project team included four full-time developers, a part-time UX designer, and an architecture specialist who advised at the outset of the design.

The initial solution had two modules:

  • A front-end web app for partners to submit and track applications, run simulations, and set up notifications for key origination milestones such as property valuations.
  • A set of back-end tools that allow compliance auditing, portfolio management, and fee changes.

The portal integrates with ten different business systems and includes a new campaigns module that allows Banco CTT to manage incentive programs for its partner network.

Channel Partner

AskBlue is a consulting company created in 2013 that provides specialized consultancy services in the Financial Market and IT.

Learn more about Askblue

Process Optimization and a Future of Integration

Results - In just seven months, the Banco CTT team has already seen multiple improvements and savings:

  • Partner sourced mortgage originations have increased by two percentage digits
  • Reduced chaser-calls and emails will enable the processing team to reduce from six to two FTEs.
  • A thirty percent increase in mortgage loans value

Taken as a whole, Banco CTT has seen a four-fold productivity increase and a corresponding acceleration of the end-to-end origination process.

Partners now have full visibility of the progress of their customers’ mortgage applications, from the moment they are submitted, right through to approval. Proactive alerts help them respond quickly to requirements, such as missing paperwork, proof of earnings, valuations, and much more.

“We’ve achieved our goal of being the first to market,” says Luís Brites Santos, Mortgage Loans Business Director at Banco CTT. “And using the OutSystems low-code platform, we’ve significantly improved our efficiency and the customer experience for partners and applicants alike.”

Despite the initial challenge of making partners responsible for data entry, the feedback has been universally enthusiastic. “The tool is simple, easy to use, and efficient for our daily work,” says one partner. Another says, “Partners like us must be able to use the tool to speed up the whole mortgage approval process.”

Banco CTT expects the portal to play a critical role as they grow. The bank has around 600 partners, with 2,500 users already on the platform. There are at least another 500 licensed financial advisor firms in Portugal that could potentially join the Banco CTT business partner network. Banco CTT’s mortgage operation can now scale much more cost-effectively, thanks to the improved efficiency provided by the portal.

“The platform is helping us align with market demand, attract new business partners and customers, and reduce our operational costs—all at the same time,” says Luís.

The portal continues to evolve. For example, partners can already see statements of their deals and commission entitlement. Soon they’ll be able to upload fee invoices and track their progress to payment. Partners will soon have a mobile app to help them keep track of all mortgage applications, which will be especially valuable for financial advisors that are often on-the-road.

Moreover, thanks to the high speed, low-code approach, Banco CTT has the agility needed to adapt their mortgage origination process whatever the market throws at them. As Luís says, “Time to market will always be important to us. Whether we’re responding to regulatory change, demands of our partners or ideas of our own, low-code and continuous deployment provide us a continuing agility advantage.”

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