Technology Offers Financial Institutions Countless Business Opportunities

By Khalifa Hemed
Published March 30, 2018

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) should embrace new-age technology to streamline their operations and to enhance their ability to extend financial inclusion among the unbanked and underbanked population.Microfinance institutions (MFIs) should embrace new-age technology to streamline their operations and to enhance their ability to extend financial inclusion among the unbanked and under-banked population.

Straton Habyalimana, senior programme manager for responsible financing at the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion Network, told delegates at the International Conference on Responsible and Inclusive Finance (ICRIF)  in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, that MFIs should adopt digital platforms to enhance their interactions with their customers.

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“Many microfinance institutions in East Africa still depend on paper-driven processes or Excel spreadsheets to manage their businesses,” Vedran Lescan, business development manager at Oradian, a global financial inclusion company that delivers a cloud-based toolset for financial institutions, told 400 delegates at the conference on March 21, 2018.

The conference was told that the National Bank of Rwanda’s (BNR) had advised Rwandan financial sector to embrace automation to reduce their operating costs and their rate of bad loans.

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) has advised Rwandan financial sector to embrace automation to reduce their operating costs and their rate of bad loans. With the latest advances in financial technology (fintech) and cloud software, Lescan said, MFIs have access to powerful, affordable tools that can help them transform inefficiencies into operational excellence, scale their businesses for rapid growth and get better visibility into the performance of their portfolios.

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Speaking in a panel discussion, Lescan said “Data migration is an important step in digital transformation, but organisations often overlook it or underestimate how time-consuming and complex it can be. Even though an MFI’s workforce can quickly learn a new system, the software wont add value if data isn’t migrated from the previous legacy system or from spreadsheets in a consistent manner.”

Vedran Lescan, business development manager at Oradian said many microfinance institutions in East Africa still depend on paper-driven processes or Excel spreadsheets to manage their businesses.Lescan said “Today’s technology offers financial institutions in Africa countless opportunities to improve their business.”

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Saying Fintech partnerships provide financial institutions with the resources and global best practice they need to rapidly overcome the common challenges of digital transformation, Lescan said “Strategic partnerships within the digital ecosystem are proving to be the most effective way to enable customers to provide better service to their end-clients.”

He advised MFIs to seek out toolsets that offer robust security and data protection features, including audit trails, user permissions and other functions to combat data leakages, fraud and user error.