How Mifos is Used
Mifos is a web-based management information system (MIS) for microfinance institutions (MFIs). Through its open source technology platform, Mifos streamlines the operations of microfinance institutions, providing real-time information and the capacity to scale. Mifos helps MFIs operate more efficiently and to drive a broader and deeper outreach to the poor. As the core backbone of an MFI’s operations, Mifos provides portfolio and transaction management, on-the-fly financial product creation, in-depth client management, integrated social performance measurement, and a reporting engine to provide financial transparency and business and social insight.
Operations at One Mifos Customer
Grameen Koota (GK) uses the Mifos platform to serve more than 450,000 clients throughout Bangalore and the greater Karnataka region of India. Mifos has helped to fuel GK’s growth and allowed the institution to provide their clients with innovative services that help to break the cycle of poverty. With Mifos, Grameen Koota processes more than 600,000 transactions each day!
An MFI branch may differ from branches of other banks. GK branches are often simple offices where loan officers do paperwork and data entry. Clients of the MFI only occasionally visit a branch. Disbursements of funds may occur at a branch or out in the field at center meetings (see below). The branches can be in Bangalore near slums or 100 km outside the city. In other countries, branch offices are hundreds of kilometers from the head office, and centers can be even farther afield.
A typical Grameen Koota branch has one PC for data entry and a few tables at which loan officers process cash reconciliation. Branches do not have air conditioning, and the power supply is on a backup generator or UPS (car battery) because power outages are frequent. The internet connection may go as high as 512 KBPS, but generally bandwidth is lower, and outages necessitate the use of dial-up connections. Some branches consistently operate at ~56 KBPS. On these connections, data entry may take several hours.
Loan officers (LOs) interact with their clients at center meetings. The meetings take place somewhere (indoors or outdoors) close to where clients live. LOs typically travel by motorcycles to get to the locations.
Each day, the loan officers print out a Collection Sheet before leaving the branch. This sheet is used to track attendance, payments, and fees at the center meetings. Later in the day, it will be the source for data entry.
At GK, LOs go out into the field in the morning to hold center meetings and collect payments from the (usually female) clients. They have 20 clients per center and meet with six or seven centers every day, Monday through Saturday. After the meetings are over, the LOs work at the branch reconciling cash and accounts. When that is completed, a loan officer enters data into Mifos. Clients may come to the branch to receive special disbursements.
When they finish data entry, the officers run reports. Batch jobs occur at night to perform additional processing. In the evenings—the times when the poor are not working—the LOs will work on recruiting and training clients. New clients will be added to Mifos the next business day.
To learn more about Grameen Koota's operations please watch this video called Technology-Enabled Microfinance: Mifos Fuels Growth and Impact at Grameen Koota