Rural microfinance et technology
When the loan officers visit the members each transaction (repayment of loans or savings) is entered into the mobile teller machine after identification with the electronic membership card. The member then receives a paper receipt printed by the machine. The loan officer collects the cash amount and the transaction is entered in real time in the IT system at headquarters.
Each member can also enquire the account balances or repayment schedules and the loan officer has direct access to the credit history.
For the clients, the system allows localized access to key information for which they previously needed to travel to the closest branch office. Jinky Flores, the general manager of Gata Daku MPC, describes the advantage: “We are bringing our office to the door step of our members.”
The advantages for the microfinance institution are several. One key motivation was the reduction of fraud risk by credit officers. The cash amount received from each client is immediately entered into the IT system and the loan officer needs to deposit the total amount the same day at the branches.
Another advantage is increased security. Managers can monitor in real time how much cash each loan officer is carrying. If certain thresholds are met, they may send support staff to collect the cash from the officers, reducing the risk of a robbery.
Finally, the system allowed Gata Daku MPC to increase efficiency by significantly reducing the number of manual entries in the system. Previously paper slips were returned to the branches where they needed to be entered manually into the system.
The principal drawback of the system is that it requires full mobile coverage. The phone network does not reach all areas of Gata Daku MPC’s operations. But discussions with the local telephone operator are underway to obtain full coverage as soon as possible.