Despite its relatively short history, Banco CTT has carved out an enviable reputation as one of Portugal’s fastest-growing banks. According to its latest annual report, the business now has 500,000 customers and holds €1.5 billion ($1.8bn) of customer funds.
Launched in 2016 by the Portuguese national postal service CTT Correios de Portugal, the challenger bank has been able to use its legacy-free technology foundation to remain responsive to the fast-evolving economic environment, as Nuno Fórneas, COO and CIO of Banco CTT, told the audience at the recent Fujitsu ActivateNow digital event (watch Nuno Fórneas at Fujitsu ActivateNow).
“The world is changing very quickly and adaptability is key,” he said. “The pandemic has only confirmed a lot of trends [in digital finance] that we already saw going on and accelerated their strengths.”Blending 5 and 500 year old cultures
|Nuno Fórneas, COO/CIO of Banco CTT|
According to Fórneas, three “critical pillars” have allowed the bank to continue to operate throughout the crisis. The first of these is institutional trust. Despite its youth, digital focus and an employee base of just 240, Banco CTT benefits from being underpinned by Portugal’s nationwide post office network. Founded in 1520, CTT Correios de Portugal is the oldest company operating in Portugal and, understandably, that “brings a lot of trust to the brand,” said Fórneas.
The second pillar he points to involves closely working alongside the Portuguese financial regulators who, like regulators elsewhere, are seeking to open up banking to make financial services more customer-centric. “Instead of seeing [regulatory demands] as a liability, we have to show excellence when dealing with these, take advantage of them and make that work for us and our customers,” he said.
Related to that, improving the customer experience is the final key ingredient for Fórneas, which is where partners such as Fujitsu and ServiceNow have played a key role in co-creating a reliable and efficient services workflow platform, capable of scaling of meet changing customer needs. “It’s more than just being marginally better, we have to be more meaningful in people’s lives. And the situation [during the pandemic] has made this even more critical.” At Banco CTT, this has involved taking a hybrid approach to improving the customer experience that combines strong digital services for remote banking with enhanced access to branch services through the post office network.
“We realize that it is no longer the [interest] rate or a product that creates the relationship with the customers. What really creates the relationship with customers is the ability to deliver, to reach the expectations of our customers. And those are getting higher and higher,” he said.
And to meet such goals, IT organizations need to be closely integrated with the business, he said. While Fórneas recognizes that the day-to-day function of a CIO is to “keep the business running and help things run smoothly,” he believes that they should be actively involved in the idea of business co-creation — something helped by his wider roles as COO and executive board member.
In doing so, “my challenge now is to become a ‘chief experience officer,’ bringing everything [on both the IT and operations side] together and ensuring the customer has a fantastic experience with the bank.”
• Watch Banco CTT case study video featuring Nuno Fórneas