Loan offers – Agreement in principle in 20 minutes

What if you no longer needed to head into your local branch to get an offer on a mortgage to buy your main home? What if in just a few clicks you could walk away with your custom financing plan and agreement in principle… in less than 20 minutes?

With Crédit Agricole next bank, the dream has become reality, based on its resolute commitment to develop its digital services, allow its customers to choose their channel of interaction with their bank, and offer them a tool that reflects their habits and expectations.

Credit Agricole

A large-scale project

“At the end of 2017, in line with Crédit Agricole next bank’s strategy, we launched the “Online mortgage response” project. After approving the project’s framework, we took the time to draw up a clear and very precise set of specifications.” explains Emmanuel Favrat, Project Manager, Crédit Agricole next bank.

“Even if the bank proposes a wide range of mortgages, we decided to initially offer just one option: buying your main home in Switzerland, excl. building work. Our approach was also guided by our firm commitment to provide a full online response perfectly suited to both the project and the customer’s objectives. More than just sending a message saying that an advisor will get back to them to finalise their financing plan, we really wanted to be able to offer agreement in principle, as well as allow the customer to choose from several financing solutions.” adds Grégoire Danielou, Digital Project Manager, Crédit Agricole next bank.

More than blindly following orders: skills, advice and expertise

At the start of 2018, following an invitation to tender, Crédit Agricole chose SQLI Switzerland to help it bring this project to fruition.

“With SQLI’s teams, we were on the same wavelength as to the way we wanted to work. More than merely providing methods, we expected our partner to be committed, trustworthy, and on the ball!” says Emmanuel Favrat.

“What ultimately won us over was the fact that the project team had been working on a very similar project with another bank a few months earlier. As a result, they knew what they were doing and already had some relevant experience.” adds Grégoire Danielou.

“Even in the first few weeks, we encountered difficulties developing the user journey. The structure was highly complex: there were more than 4,000 possible routes… It could have jeopardised the project’s progress. SQLI wasn’t afraid to challenge us. Plans changed and they found a solution to reduce the workload and complexity of the developments. They didn’t just blindly follow orders - they were proactive and advised us.” underline Grégoire Danielou and Emmanuel Favrat.

The first models presented in-house to the bank allowed us to make smooth progress on the rest of the journey but also accentuate the UX element.

“One of the key challenges for Crédit Agricole next bank was to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. You have to put yourself in the user’s shoes: what will make them stay the course? The questions need to be simple and clear, the information structured and logical, the answers must not require too much writing but rather selection of auto-filled answers, etc.” explains Jean-Sébastien Jacquet, Project Manager, SQLI Switzerland.

“It’s true that we were particularly focused on the loan offer process and meeting the release deadlines. Of course, we wanted it to look good, but above all it had to be delivered on time.” adds Emmanuel Favrat.

“The finished product is very well thought-out, stripped of any information that would slow down the process.” Grégoire Danielou is happy to say.


USP features

Another of Crédit Agricole next bank’s challenges was that it needed this tool to stand out from the crowd. More and more banks are looking to offer online loans. And more often than not, only one loan is offered at the end of the process, without any other choices. If this choice doesn’t suit the user, they have to opt for à la carte services.


So Crédit Agricole next bank decided to offer 3 financing options, followed by the chance to customize the chosen option.


“The platform user then immediately sees that they have a choice. The advantages of each proposal are highlighted.” explains Grégoire Danielou.


Once the process is complete and the financing offer selected, the customer receives an e-mail confirming the agreement in principle.

This first version has been highly successful, suggestion this close collaboration cloud well continue

“The platform went online in December 2018, within the agreed deadlines. And though a campaign to promote our new tool is planned over the coming months, we had one user already complete the process at the start of January. We got back in touch with the customer to finalise their loan application during a one-off appointment at their local branch. And their feedback was very encouraging! Simple and smooth was how they described the process.” adds Emmanuel Favrat.


With this tool, Crédit Agricole next bank is offering its current and future customers a new channel of communication.


“We wanted to demonstrate our ability to modernise, solve our customers’ problems, and firmly focus on digital.” notes Grégoire Danielou. “Plus, this project’s success is a source of great pride for the bank’s Management, stressing both the exceptional team work it has seen and the high-quality partnership with SQLI. The final product, in terms of both technology and ergonomics, is a resounding success.” he concludes.


What next? Extending the app’s features to all Crédit Agricole next bank’s mortgages by 2020.

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