An MFI run by computer programmers?
By Julia Kastner, KF10 Mexico
I knew this placement was going to be different when I walked into CrediComún’s headquarters and saw a 4 foot by 4 foot poster depicting the company’s technology infrastructure. It was as sophisticated if not more so as the infrastructure I’d seen at my last job in New York City. As I was shown around the organization, I was introduced to many computer programmers and IT specialists, even at the highest level of the organization, and I realized CrediComún wasn’t going to need my help with Excel – I was probably the one who was going to learn something about technology!
What happens when you combine microfinance methodology with sophisticated IT systems? Well, processes take less time and cost less money! While other MFIs have to wait for signed documents to travel through the mail from the branch offices in other parts of the countries, CrediComún receives its documents instantly in scanned format through their Management Information System (MIS). Because of this, CrediComún can guarantee its clients that their loans will be processed in three days! By saving money on postage and other transaction costs, CrediComún can also make more loans and help more clients!
CrediComún is also hoping to launch a pilot project to use blackberries to collect information in the field, so instead of loan officers filling out paper forms and then later typing them into the MIS, the information will automatically go straight from the field to the central office. This kind of technology is something we talked investing for Kiva during training last year, but we haven’t looked into it yet, so I think CrediComún’s project is especially exciting. Kiva has shown the world that technology can change the world – we think mobile microfinance can do the same!