Announcing Mifos X 15.03: Mandatory Savings, Individual Collection Sheets, OAuth 2 Support, Context-Sensitive Help

On April 06, 2015 we shipped our first major release for 2015, Mifos X 15.03. With the release, we’ve adopted the new release numbering framework identified by the year-month of the date of the scheduled release. Mifos X 15.03 contained a great deal of new technical and security enhancements, functional improvements to the loans and accounting module, as well as some improved usability. OAuth 2 Support as well as stricter password configuration policies will provide more robust authentication mechanisms. Bulk Collection Sheet Entry for Individual Loans as well as Mandatory Savings accounts are not supported. The loans module now allows for fixed loan product parameters, configurable working days, multiple options for interest calculation on pre-closure, greater flexibility during the approval and disbursal process for multi-tranche loans, and improved rounding off rules for EMI repayments. For the accounting module, one can now migrate opening balances as well as configure fees to be mapped to liability accounts. Last but not least, Mifos X 15.03 now has a significant amount of context-sensitive help including tooltips and dynamic help menu links.  Please view the Mifos X 15.03 release notes for full details.

UPDATE: On May 18, 2015, we shipped the first service pack or hotfix release, Mifos 15.03.1. This released contained new functionality such as a loan products that support a compounding period that is independent from the rest frequency period, improved filtering and searchability on client/groups/center listings, and nearly three dozen bug fixes and UI enhancements. Please view the Mifos X 15.03.1 release notes for full details.

Many thanks go out to all the contributors who made this release possible – especially our core team, partners like Conflux Technologies and Musoni Services, as well as a number of new features that were worked on the high school students who participated in our Google Code-In projects.

New Products & Tools

Collection Sheet for Individual Loans

Up until this release, one could only make bulk repayments via the collection sheet module to JLG loans for clients that belong in a group. Now, with support for individual loans, collections can be made in bulk for individual loans to clients in any center, group or branch regardless if they belong to a group. Payment details for each transaction can now also be recorded. This is a powerful tool that will streamline data entry greatly.

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Mandatory Savings

Closing out a gap with Mifos 2, we now have support for mandatory savings accounts in addition to basic passbook savings and our fixed and recurring term deposits account. We have extended our recurring deposit product to support a mandatory savings account that has no end date but has a recurring amount that must be deposited at each meeting. To set up a mandatory savings, one simply would configure a recurring deposit account with no maturity date and an open-ended interest rate chart by setting no maximum deposit term nor end date for the interest rate chart.

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Functional Enhancements

Loan Module Improvements

Pre-Closure Interest Calculation

Now when a client pays off a loan earlier before the entire repayment schedule is completed, a financial institution can configure whether or not interest is collected up until the date the loan is closed or for the entire months in which it’s being closed through a new option to select Calculate till pre-closure date or Calculate till rest frequency date (entire month).

pre-closure-interest-calculation-rule

 

Default Loan Product Parameters – Non-configurable at Account-Level

This feature was needed because the Community App was a bit too flexible – one can now specify which loan parameters are default values that are only configurable at the product level and not when creating each new individual account. Previously, loan product parameters had the highest degree of flexibility allowing specific parameters to be editable when creating new loan accounts. Now there is a configuration to specify which loan product parameters can be overridden at the account level. Simply check the box of those parameters one would like to be configurable. 

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Tranche Loans (Multiple Disbursal) Enhancements

We have added additional flexibility to our tranche loans functionality during the approval and disbursal processes. Now once a loan account is active and prior to approval, you can add additional tranches (disbursals), remove tranches, change the amounts of a tranche, or the change the date of the disbursal of the tranche. Likewise, even after a loan has been approved but before it has been disbursed, you can still remove and delete tranches. The loan is still validated against the condition that the total amount approved and/or disbursed can’t exceed the amount the customer has applied for. Once a tranche loan has been disbursed, no changes can be made.

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Manually Define Installment Amounts for Non-Tranche Loans

With this release, one can now manually fix the EMI amounts to be the one standard amount across the repayment schedule by selecting the new product configuration option of Allowing fixing of the installment amount.

Improved Rounding Off for Repayments

Mifos X 15.03 has improved rounding off calculations for repayments where adjustments from rounding off principal and interest get added to the final installment. This brings Mifos X in line with the calculations of Mifos 2 and other systems. Prior to this release, when rounding off repayments in multiples of 10s or 100s, the amount collected could be higher than the effective interest rate. Now the system rounds off the entire repayment amount but keeps a tally of the exact values of the principal and interest for each repayment so that during the final installment any rounding off can be accumulated and passed an adjustment to make sure total amount collected matches that of the effective interest rate.

Configurable Working Days

One can now define  working days and non-working days and specify the rules for how repayment schedules should get adjusted if the payment falls on a non-working day:

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Accounting Improvements

Migrating Opening Balances for GL Accounts

The Community App now has an option to set and migrate the opening balances for the entire chart of accounts. There is now a screen which shows all the GL accounts, allows one to enter a balance at a given branch or head office for a specific date (i.e. beginning of fiscal year). Total debits and credits must match before the opening balances can be migrated. This tool can only used to set opening balances and must be done before any journal entries have been passed (including any automated postings from the portfolio. migrate-opening-balances

Mapping Fees to Liability Accounts

For those who are capturing fees as pass-throughs (i.e. premium collection for an insurance policy), fees can now be mapped to a liability account and not just to an income account as was the only option previously.

Improved User Interface for Accounting/Portfolio Integration

From each individual loan account page, there is now a button to View Journal Entries which shows all the GL transactions for that account.

Teller Cash Management Improvements

Building off of the initial functionality, currency is now being handled correctly for transfers from the vault to cashier and the screens are now fully aligned for improved usability.

View Journal Entries from Loan Account

With one simple click, one can now view all the debit and credit general ledger transactions associated with a specific account. For better integration between the portfolio and financial accounting, there is now a button to View Journal Entries from the loan transaction page.

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Payment Types now a Separate Attribute

For our current teller cash management module and recognizing how important flexibility and control around payment types will be going forward, we have moved payment types from being a user-defined code value to their own separate table. This is one of the most important attributes around a transaction and now there is greater control than merely being a drop-down value.

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Technical and Security Improvements

OAuth 2 Support

With Mifos X 15.03, we now have improved security with support for OAuth 2 providing dynamic token management strategy which provides more secure authentication and a means of tracking each connected device using the API.

Loan Module Refactoring

We’ve refactored the code in the loan module for better performance.

Configurable Password Preferences

There are now two options for password policies that must be enforced: 1) At least 1 character and not more than 50 characters long or 2) at least 6 characters with, no more than 50 characters, and must include at least one upper case letter, lower case letter, one numeric digit, and no space.

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One can now also override the password policy such that a user password never expires.

Batch Jobs based on Time Zones

The batch job scheduler now runs properly even if the system locale is different from the tenant locale so batch jobs like periodic accruals can be configured to run at a time that won’t disrupt operations.

Usability Enhancements

Thanks to the awesome work from our Google Code In students, there is now a significant amount of context-sensitive help present within the community app.

Tooltips

Most of the major parameters and and actions have tooltips with simple definitions available – hover over the green question bubbles or action-buttons to see the tool-tips.

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Context-Sensitive Help

The help menu link is now context-sensitive in that it will automatically take you to the relevant documentation section of the wiki based on the page of the Community App you’re currently on.

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Savings & Loan Transaction Receipts

Now for any loan or savings transaction, there is a direct link from the UI to view and print a transaction receipt for each individual transaction.

For savings transactions, one can now see a receipt icon which when clicked generates a receipt template designed in Pentaho.

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For loan transactions, there is now the receipt icon button along with the view journal entries button next to each individual transaction.

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A number of other minor usability fixes have made their way into this release including the ability to select all pending tasks from the task inbox as well as having date fields default to the most common or likely values when filling out.

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