digital

Three Steps (and One BFF) for a Perfect Bank-Fintech Match

Image courtesy of  pixel2013  via  Pixabay.com .

Image courtesy of pixel2013 via Pixabay.com.

For many financial institutions today, going digital has the potential to unlock new market segments, streamline operations, cut risks and greatly improve customer relations. But for institutions considering this proposition, size matters.

Larger institutions tend to have the resources to source and apply new financial technology (fintech) or, if those resources are not available in-house, to enlist partners that can help them improve internal processes and deliver innovative offerings. Several large financial institutions in emerging markets — including BBVA, Diamond Trust Bank, ICICI and Stanbic Bank, to name a few — have been sponsoring incubators and partnering with fintech startups, often with a view to acquiring or “acqui-hiring” them to develop new capacities. A recent study by CFI-IIF points to the numerous benefits of fintech/bank partnerships, and another PwC study estimates that over 80 percent of the world’s financial services firms are expecting to increase fintech partnerships in the next three to five years.

Continue reading

Can Tech Humanize Microfinance? An Unexpected Benefit of Going Digital

Employees of CEP testing the app

Employees of CEP testing the app

Until recently, CEP (a microfinance institution in Vietnam) operated similarly to most MFIs: Cash transactions and paper records reigned. Mountains of paper accumulated in CEP’s storage rooms despite efforts to digitize some of it. Accessing data involved hours of rummaging through papers, and much of the information was not fully used.

In 2015, CEP joined the OPTIX project and worked with BFA to understand how to optimize its internal processes. CEP noted that one of the lengthiest processes was the loan origination survey, which collects client information, including a “poverty assessment,” used in the loan approval decision. As this data resided only on paper, CEP’s officers had to collect the information at every loan cycle, even when the client’s situation had not changed since their last interaction with the institution. Loan officers reported that they conducted an average of 25 poverty assessments per week, and each one took 20-30 minutes. 

Continue reading

 

MetLife Foundation Funded Global Initiative Improves Access to Products and Services in Bangladesh

CI+OPTIX+photo+1+CIWEB.jpg

SAJIDA Foundation partners with bKash to increase access to financial services for women using digital technology

SAJIDA Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) providing microfinance services to poor and low income people in Bangladesh, and bKash Limited, a leading Mobile Financial Service (MFS) provider in the world, launched a new MFS-based microfinance initiative.

This initiative will allow SAJIDA to disburse loans directly into the bKash accounts of SAJIDA clients. In addition, members of the NGO, from across 16 districts, can also make loan repayments and deposit savings with SAJIDA Foundation through their bKash accounts. The combination of mature, dynamic microfinance institutions and availability of affordable and accessible digital financial services makes Bangladesh a fitting testing ground for digitized microfinance.

Continue reading

Click here for the press release