“Efficient use of technology is the only way to ensure financial services are transparent, timely and fast.”
Microfinance institutions hold and maintain large amounts of important business data, from basic customer information to detailed analysis of portfolio statistics. This data must be stored, processed, and clearly presented so that Managers can make sound decisions.
PSC always entrusted on efficient use of available technology to reduce costs, improve efficiency with transparency, and increase outreach. In 2011, PSC in partnership with its parent entity PCI (Project Concern International) and QUALCOMM’s Wireless Reach Initiative implemented the “Connecting India to Disconnect Poverty” (CIDP) program.
Under this program, first we experimented on use of mobile-based application to induce communication and thus transparency on transactions between PSC and its customers. With this application a customer can access her loan account information like date and amount of last repayment, loan outstanding on her, what are contact numbers of staff etc. However this application had limited use for MFI staff and hence was not impacting on staff productivity.
Based on learning from mobile application, this year, a tablet-based application is presently under development. This application will bring complete MIS of PSC on the doorstep of the customer. This innovative approach and application will make PSC virtually paperless MFI. Field Executive will perform all crucial operations like customer registration, repayment recording, KYC etc, in digital format on a tablet. Once a repayment is punched in the system, customer will receive an acknowledgement SMS on her registered mobile number alerting her of payment she just deposited.
Digital Microfinance . Paperless Microfinance
Planned Social Concern in collaboration with Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative; Project Concern International India (PCI), an international health, development and humanitarian assistance organization; and Microware Computing & Consulting, a telecom and software solutions company, developed its flagship software (MIS).
The MIS uses 3G-connected tablets and an innovative, Android-based, MicroLekha application to improve the efficiency, profitability and transparency by automating and streamlining many routine tasks, expediting the loan application and approval process and improving communication with customers. These improvements work to build confidence of borrowers in the lending process and stimulate economic activity of underserved communities.
Additionally, real-time updates of customer repayments also prevent potential fraud and embezzlement by loan officers. And, loan officers can expedite the loan application and approval process by registering new customers on the spot by using the tablet to scan the required documents for loan approval.
The new system also stores documents digitally, which eliminates the need for borrowers to submit paperwork each time they apply for a loan. Further, customers making loan repayments receive transaction receipts and account updates via SMS, ultimately building confidence in the lending process.
The MicroLekha application complies with India’s regulations for microfinance operations, incorporates the mandated “Know Your Customer” requirements and can be customised to support different loan approval processes, loan products, terms and fees.
Half of the people in the world live on less than USD 2 a day. Extending small loans to people who want to create wealth and opportunities – microfinance – is a powerful way to help individuals improve their lives.