Several technological developments for support and expansion of microfinance services were presented during the 2010 RBAP-MABS National Roundtable Conference held in Manila on June 2-3, 2010.
Ms. Rebecca Hughes, Philippines Country Director of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), first introduced a credit scoring model and automated loan application process via netbooks. The new loan application process via netbooks allows loan Account Officers to quickly and easily upload and prepare loan applications from the field. In addition, IPA has also added a credit scoring system into the application to better predict the borrower’s likelihood of repayment based on certain indicators such as the borrower’s background, cash flow, debt capacity and past repayment patterns of comparable borrowers. For the staff and clients, the netbooks help speed up the processing of loan applications in the field.
While Ms. Hughes cautioned that not every bank will be able to implement the credit scoring system overnight, all banks can benefit from the automated loan applications via netbooks. This can also provide banks with the first step in collecting data that can one day be utilized by the bank to implement a credit scoring system.
Next, Mr. Reggie Ocampo, President of First Macro Bank, presented his bank’s experience with the IPA in implementing the loan application process using netbooks. His Account Officers found that this system greatly improves their productivity by 1) making it easier to facilitate client documentary requirements, 2) significantly reducing paperwork and 3) increasing the speed of credit and background reporting, as well as the approval process. Thanks to the system’s worksheets with automated calculations. Additionally, the objectivity of the credit scoring model reduces the reliance on supervisor and credit committee reviews. Account officers reported that clients are actually impressed with the netbook technology, seeing the bank as more professional. Mr. Ocampo stressed that a credit scoring system, however, cannot replace a skilled and responsible Account Officer. He added that it only provides another tool in the final decision making process of loan approvals.
Finally, Ms. Christine Amarra, Program Manager of BlueBlade Technologies Inc. based at the Ateneo de Manila University, introduced a new mobile phone banking application specifically designed for MABS mobile phone banking services via GCASH. Currently, bank account information must be inputted each time a user transacts via the GCASH menu, which may result in the entry of inaccurate information. BlueBlade’s new mobile phone banking application solves this problem by allowing the clients to store their bank account information, the bank’s mobile number, and the transaction codes for each specific mobile phone banking service in a secure java application on the phone. Additional features include the ability to store multiple banks and accounts in a user’s profile as well as an easy-to-use interface. Ms. Amarra demonstrated the application during the panel session. BlueBlade will be testing this application in an agreement reached with RBAP-MABS. The plan is to offer this program to all interested GCASH-accredited rural banks in the near future.
Are your Account Officers using Netbooks for electronic loan applications? Would the mobile phone banking application that stores most of the bank account details securely on the phone as well as automates the transaction process be useful to your employees and your clients? Share your thoughts and experiences by replying to this post.
Until next time, Mabuhay ang Technology!