Thursday, October 22, 2009

Technology Trends in the Financial Inclusion Market

MHFC recently visited a technology conference in Hyderabad that showcased existing and emerging technology in the financial inclusion sector. The conference was attended by leading technology players such as IBM and Infrasoft technologies that have designed robust IT systems to support the Micro Finance Industry. They all seem to have leveraged their in house core banking technologies (which they have developed for regular banks) and have adapted them for the micro finance market.

The adaption process is truly fascinating. Most technology companies have started providing their CBD solutions to their clients in a Saas( Software as a service) model. This greatly reduces the sunk costs incurred by a budding MFI while allowing it to leverage all the essential core banking functionality it needs to operate.The Saas approach is single handedly the most beneficial service the tech companies are providing to MFI.

While the Saas model mainly deals with the back end processes, the implementation of technology at the frond end of the MFI operation is remarkable. In this case we were really impressed by the work FINO has done in this arena. They have designed and implemented mobile banking systems using the ubiquitous bluetooth enabled mobile phone (costing less than 80$) and integrated front end processes such as collections, disbursements, and loan management that were earlier completely detached and required manual data entry in order for them to be synced up with the core banking systems.

All in all it was a great conference, where I got to learn a lot about the processes and system being used by leading MFI today. Now we have the hard task to decide how best to leverage these wide array of technologies in order to meet challanges that MHFC will face in the coming years.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mumbai Marathon (Jan 2010)

The construction industry is the single largest employer of migrant labour in India. Est at over 30 Million in number, they move to cities with their children and typically live on the construction sites itself. While they are at work, the children have to fend for themselves, and suffer from malnutrition, injury, and illness. They rarely go to school.

Mumbai Mobile Creches ("MMC") is an NGO based out of Mumbai which works with children of construction workers on building sites, specifically on health, education and safety. Its vision is for all children to have a nurturing and happy childhood and its mission is to promote ‘child-friendly sites’; where every child living on a construction site is able to enjoy their childhood. It tries to ensure that the first few years of a child‘s life are well nourished and stimulating, an essential foundation for a happy childhood, and it has a special focus on children below six.

MHFC is proud to be running the Mumbai Marathon (slated for Jan 2010) for Mumbai Mobile Creches.

For more info on MMC, see

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NAREDCO conference - MHFC article

As discussed, MHFC is presenting at the NAREDCO conference on "Public Private Partnerships" in affordable housing - copy of our paper (being presented by Madhu, our Chairman) below:

Naredco Conference Paper