SAJIDA Foundation, originally founded in 1987 as a private family-funded charity, evolved into a formal non-governmental organization (NGO) in 1993 offering microcredit services to poor urban women in Dhaka. Its mission is to use sustainable and effective interventions to improve the quality of life for poor urban and rural men, women and families.
SAJIDA Foundation is working to improve its current cross-sell strategy via product redesign, process improvement and consumer-centric actionable research. Specific OPTIX initiatives (or "pathways") include offering mobile money for loan repayment, digitizing the onboarding process for microcredit borrowers who have graduated to microenterprise loans, changing term deposit account parameters and introducing a Financial Advisory Services tool for field staff.
Institution type: MFI
Year founded: 1987
Client type: Low-Income
Mobile Money Based Loan Servicing: SAJIDA Foundation partnered with bKash, the leading mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh, and Rocket, a mobile money solution offered by DBBL, one of Bangladesh’s largest private banks, to offer loan disbursement and repayment services over mobile money rails. Five pilot branches have been operating completely cashless since December 2017, with more than 8,000 clients transacting around US$600,000 each month.
Clients appreciate the flexibility of paying at a time and place convenient to them, including the ability to pay before or after office hours. Some adaptations to the group-based model were also required. The OPTIX project supported the development of a middleware that interfaces between SAJIDA's core banking system on one hand, and Rocket and bkash on the other - the first of its kind in Bangladesh.
Microenterprise Loan Origination System: SAJIDA Foundation graduates capable microcredit (MC) borrowers into microenterprise (ME) borrowers, who are eligible for a larger loan. Out of total 175,000 borrowers, 15,000 have been graduated from microcredit loan and the growth is 20% every year. With support from OPTIX, SAJIDA is in the process of replacing the current paper based on-boarding assessment process that is time-consuming and inefficient with a fully digital one.
This system features a handheld app that allows for data to be collected in the field, a portal that allows for due diligence to be conducted by all staff members concerned, and monitoring capabilities that allow quality control real-time. The first cohort of 7 branches have been digitized; remaining branches will be phased in the coming months.
Term Deposit Product Redesign: Based on customer research conducted as part of the OPTIX project, SAJIDA Foundation redesigned their term deposit offering, Astha. Product rules were redesigned to ensure the saving of a useful lump sum, staff were trained to follow a goal-oriented discussion that focused on client needs instead of engaging in a generic income-generation spiel, and iterative tweaks were conducted to fine-tune the product based on regular data analytics. More than 6,000 Astha accounts have been opened since the redesign, providing SAJIDA with long-term deposits while safeguarding client funds.
Financial Advisory Services (FAS) App for Staff: SAJIDA Foundation developed a financial advisory service tool to structure conversations around savings, specially long term savings, as an OPTIX initiative. In addition to guiding conversations, staff found use in the center and branch overviews the tool provided, resulting in those features being migrated to other apps. The FAS provides a window into the discussions that take place before a client opens a savings account, and has been a great source of insight into client decision-making.
Evidence-based Decision-making Capability Enhancements: In addition to the pathways above, which represent multi-year long commitments to improving cross-sell through product redesign, customer research, and process tweaking, SAJIDA Foundation has undertaken the following activities under the OPTIX program to support its operations:
- Development and use of a business case that provides profitability figures at the account level, aggregated to some combination of products, channels, client segments, branches, geographies and others. This is refreshed every six months.
- Use of a wide variety of data, including geospatial data for location-based decisions, and usage analytics data for apps.
- Deployment of business intelligence solutions that allow regular monitoring of its operations.