Mifos Conference Rundown

One of our goals in 2018 was to be more active at conferences in getting the word out about the Mifos Initiative and the great work our community and ecosystem has been doing. To that end, we’ve had an active presence at a number of conferences this summer and a couple on their way this fall.

ApacheCon North America 2018

Next week I’ll be traveling to Montreal to give a talk at ApacheCon. Check out my separate post on ApacheCon to learn more about the Fineract Fintech track taking place on Tuesday.

Linux Foundation Open Source Summit Europe

In October, I’m going to cross over the pond to Edinburgh, UK to give a keynote at the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit Europe. My talk will highlight the massive need to bring financial services to the more than 3 Billion underbanked worldwide and how we can only do that through the game-changing OPEN approach we’ve pioneered that unites open source technology, supported by open community and sustained by open business models.

This will be an awesome chance to promote our initiative and community to the broader tech community in Europe. Thanks to Dave Neary for the introduction and to Angela Brown and Jillian Hall for making this happen.

 

OSCON

We returned to OSCON once again for the 8th time and as is tradition we hosted a booth in the Non Profit Pavilion under the sponsorship of O’Reilly. 

Our booth really helped us capture and experience how big of a fintech presence there was at the conference; as compared to years past, the financial services sector has really been starting to embrace open source.  We were able to tell the story of our ecosystem and the innovation its enabled on top of our open API to representatives of companies including Square, Paypal, American Express, MasterCard, Capital One, Royal Bank of Canada, Farm Credit, Decred, Thomson Reuters, IBM, HyperLedger, Sovrin Foundation, and more. Read more

Fineract Fintech Track at ApacheCon North America 2018

Next week ApacheCon descends upon Montreal – we’ll have a large contingent of our community in  attendance and Fineract will take center stage with PMC VP, Myrle Krantz, giving a keynote entitled Banking on Open Source.

I’ll be giving a similar version of the talk James Dailey and I delivered at OSCON, Open Banking: Fueling Innovation on an Open Source Core Banking Platform. In this talk, I’ll show firsthand what Open Source Banking truly is by presenting four enterprise case studies on Fineract adoption, implementation, and contribution at financial institutions ranging from fintechs to microfinance banks.

This is my first ApacheCon and I’m looking forward to it – for the chance to put faces to names for the many ASF members I’ve interacted with on the lists and to attend sessions to further immerse myself in the Apache Way.  

For any of the Mifos or Fineract community in North America, I’d highly recommend you try to make it the conference because Tuesday, Sept 25, will house the Fineract Fintech track. Thank you to Rich Bowen for making this dedicated track happen.

Myrle Krantz, Apache Fineract VP will kick things off with a keynote that morning entitled “Banking on Open Source”. Next up will be Rajan Maurya sharing his experiences as an intern on Branchless Banking and Promoting Financial Inclusion in the Fragile States.  My talk on Open Source Banking will then follow and later in the day, Gaurav Saini will speaking about building an Offline-First Expense Manager App with Apache CouchDB.  Daniel Ruggeri of Mastercard will be giving his talk, Bringing Enterprise into the Open Source World  that fits nicely into the theme as it chronicles Mastercard’s Open Source contribution journey.

A big thank you also to the Apache Travel Assistance Committee whose generous travel sponsorship is enabling Rajan Maurya, Kumaranath Fernando, and Sanyam Goel to travel all the way from India to attend.

Brady’s First Time at OSCON

For those of you whom I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, my name is Braden McDarment. I am a junior at the University of Washington, Seattle campus, studying Political Economy and Economics.

Just a few weeks ago Ed Cable, James Dailey, and I drove down to Portland for the 20th anniversary of OSCON! The event was hosted at the Oregon Convention Center, where it will be held again next year. At the end of each event day I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with many renowned individuals of the open source community.

During the day Ed and I manned the Mifos Initiative booth. At the booth we informed attendees about our mission and how we go about tackling financial inclusion. The attendees asked several keen questions and were eager to learn more about how they could help our community grow. The discussions helped me broaden my knowledge about Mifos and the open source community.

Many of the attendees we talked to expressed interest in volunteering after learning more, and some even wanted to join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating to Mifos. You can also join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating today! Without your support Mifos won’t be able to reach the millions of people in desperate need of access to financial services. Click the link below to be a supporter.

DONATE NOW

Also at OSCON, I had the chance to attend a few of the talks. The subjects varied from blockchain to open banking. One talk that stood out to me was “Cloud-native Open Source on the Blockchain for Financial Inclusion” by Myrle Krantz. She is the VP of Apache Fineract and has been passionate about financial inclusion ever since she worked at Mifos. She spoke about how 10% of humanity lives on less than $1.90 a day, and how 2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to financial services. Mrs. Krantz discussed how Apache Fineract CN makes it easy for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to be more efficient and successful. Because many MFIs don’t want to host their own database, Apache Fineract CN is a perfect solution to this dilemma. I’m excited to see the impact Apache Fineract has on the world in the coming years.

Ed and James also led a discussion called “Open Banking: Fueling Innovation on an Open Source Core Banking Platform”. I recommend you can take a look at their slides here.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at OSCON. Being able to meet people at the other booths, as well as at our own, taught me a significant amount about open source and its community. I want to say thank you to O’Reilly Media, Inc. for putting on the event and to the attendees who expressed interest in helping the Mifos Initiative in the future. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.

Cheers!

Meet the 2018 Google Summer of Code Class of Interns

Google Summer of Codegsoc2016-sun-373x373 2018 is well underway so this blog post is admittedly a bit late. GSOC is now in its 13th year and we’re proud to be participating in GSOC once again for the fiftth time as the Mifos Initiative and the seventh year overall. 1264 students from 62 countries are working with a record 206 open source organizations this summer. This year will be our biggest year to date. We were able to select thirteen interns through the Mifos Initiative who are working alongside four interns from the Apache Software Foundation. Our students are working on mobile apps, web apps as well as back-end innovation and new modules on top of Fineract and Fineract CN. As the voice for the financial inclusion community within Apache Fineract, the Mifos Initiative looks forward to participating in GSOC for many years to come to deeply engage with the high number of students interested in Fintech and captivated by our mission.

This year, our interns are coming from five different countries with both India and Cameroon heavily represented and interns from Singapore and Mauritius for the first time. We have six interns working on mobile apps, three interns working on web apps, four interns working on new modules or the back-end for Fineract, and four interns working on the Fineract CN framework.

For our suite of Mifos X Mobile Apps on Fineract, we have three students continuing to extend them. Aksh Gautam, under the mentorship of Tarun Mudgal, will be extending our Android Field Operations App to Version 5.0, adding in additional offline capablities, new features, and enhancing the user experience. Saksham Handu, under the mentorship of Rajan Maurya, will be building out Version 3.0 of our mobile banking app, Mifos Mobile, adding chat/messaging support and additional functionalities. Lastly, Ankur Sharma, under mentorship of Puneet Kohli and Naman Dwivedi, is extending the two applications on top of our mobile wallet framework.

As Fineract CN begins to reach a point of stability, we’re focusing on building out client and user-facing mobile apps. Dilpreet Singh and Mohak Puri are both working with Rajan Maurya to build out Version 2.o of Fineract CN Mobile. Manish Kumar is working on the first client-facing mobile applicaition on top of Fineract CN.

On the back-end for Fineract, we’re looking to wrap up some eagerly awaited projects and release some new Mifos X innovation,Sanyam Goel is completing our much-anticipated Mifos payment gateway providing mobile money integration, under the mentorship of Steve Conrad and Rahul Goel. Kumaranath Fernando with the expertise of Avik Ganguly is tackling scalability enhancements to enable better performance for high client volumes. Dingfan Zhou is experimenting with some bleeding edge fintech applications by building out a chatbot and adapter for Fineract under the guidance of Aleks Vidakovic and Thynn Win. Likewise, Lalit Mohan, is helping us explore Machine Learning for the first time guided by Nayan Ambalia, Avik, and Mark Reynolds.

For the first time, we have students through both Mifos and Apache working with the core Fineract CN framework for the first time. Ebenezer Graham is building out a brand new SMS/email microservice with the mentorship of Isaac Kamga and Myrle Krantz. Courage Angeh is helping enable the rapid deployment of Fineract CN in the cloud through her containerization project with support of Victor Romero & Viswa Ramamoorthy. Ruphine Kengne and Pembe Miriam are developing out group lending and management features in Fineract CN at both the back and front-end with support from Awasum Yannick.

As we do each year, here’s a brief intro on each of our interns and stay tuned for a follow-up post with some fun facts on each of them.

Mobile Apps – Mifos X (Fineract)

Saksham Handu – India

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Mobile 3.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya & Ed Cable
Ankur Sharma – India

 

 

 

 

  • Mobile Wallet 2.0
  • Mentor: Puneet Kohli & Naman Dwivedi
Aksh Gautam – India 

 

 

 

 

  • Android Field Operations App 5.0
  • Mentor: Tarun Mudgal & Ishan Khanna
 

Mobile Apps – Fineract CN

Dilpreet Singh – India

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Mobile 3.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya
Mohak Puri – India

 

 

 

 

  • Mobile Wallet 2.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya
Manish Kumar – India 

 

 

 

 

  • Mobile Banking App 1.0
  • Mentor: Rajan Maurya & Ed Cable
 

Mifos X Web Apps

Anwesh Nayak – India

 

 

 

 

  • Web App Rewrite to Angular 6
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini & Pranjal Goswami
Ankit Ojha – India 

 

 

 

 

  • Online Banking App 2.0
  • Mentor: Raunak Sett
Abhay Chawla – India 

 

 

 

 

  • Self-Service User Admin Portal & Web App Rewrite to Angular 6
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini & Maulik Soneji
 

Fineract & Mifos X Modules

Sanyam Goel – India 

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Payment Gateway
  • Mentor: Steve Conrad & Rahul Goel
Dingfan Zhou – Singapore

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos Chatbot
  • Mentor: Aleks Vidakovic & Thynn Win
Kumaranth Fernando – Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

  • Mifos X Scalability & Performance Enhancements
  • Mentor: Avik Ganguly
Lalit Mohan – India

 

 

 

 

  • Static Analysis of Apache Fineract
  • Mentor: Nayan Ambali & Avik Ganguly
 

Fineract CN

Courage Angeh – Cameroon 

 

 

 

 

  • Containerization & Deployment Using Docker
  • Mentor: Victor Romero & Visa Ramamoorthy
Ebenezer Graham – Mauritius

 

 

 

 

  • SMS/Email Microservice
  • Mentor: Isaac Kamga & Myrle Krantz
Ruphine Kengne – Cameroon

 

 

 

 

  • Group Loan Management Service
  • Mentor: Awasum Yannick & Ed Cable
Pembe Miriam – Cameroon

 

 

 

 

  • New Web UI for Fineract CN
  • Mentor: Awasum Yannick & Gaurav Saini

Read more

Mifos Selected as Finalist for PayTech for Good Award

The Mifos Initiative is excited to announce that we have been selected as one of the finalists for the 2018 PayTech Awards! After entering in the Paytech for Good division, we are among the likes of DCR Strategies Inc, GoodBox, and NetSpend for the winning spot, which will be announced on July 13th in London.

The PayTech Awards, led by Fintech Futures and its renowned Paybefore brand, are used to recognize excellence and innovation in the use of IT in the finance and payment industry worldwide. So that being said, we could not be more thrilled to be short-listed for such a fantastic program!

The specific award that Mifos is up for, PayTech for Good, aims to honor a financial service or technology organization for its outstanding contribution to the community it serves. Just like Mifos, this award celebrates the use of collaboration, connection, and community to make a positive impact in the world.

While we strive to make financial inclusion more efficient and effective through our open source platform, our focus on innovation is what sets us apart from other finalists. We not only provide a world-class solution, but through taking advantage of open source technology, we can invite members of the community to innovate and stack on top of our platform. This way, instead of just creating one amazing solution by ourselves, we can harness the power of our greater community to innovate hundreds of incredible solutions. The unbeatable combination of technology and community creates such a meaningful impact, which then allows us to do as much good in the world as possible.

With an expert panel of judges selecting the winners soon, we can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thank you to the PayTech Awards, Fintech Futures, and Comms for Good for this wonderful opportunity!

Mifos Welcomes Fintech Advisor, Vincent Alimi

The Mifos Initiative is glad to announce the addition of a new member to its team of business and technical advisors. Vincent Alimi will bring 15 years of experience in the fintech space and in mobile payments in particular. Mifos will benefit from Vincent’s expertise and experience on various topics such as product strategy and sustainability. He will also be involved in various strategic growth projects and partner relationship management.

Since 2003, focusing on mobile services and their security, Vincent has benefitted from working at the forefront of mobile payments at a time when the technology was in its infancy. In 2012, he earned a Ph.D. in Digital Payments from the University of Caen, France. Vincent joined Mobeewave in 2013, a company known for offering the next big thing in payment acceptance. He has held key technical and non-technical roles throughout his time there, and today is their Chief Growth Officer.”

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Vincent in growing our global ecosystem and strengthening the long term sustainability of our initiative,” said Edward Cable, President/CEO. “Vincent’s passion for financial inclusion and visionary insight into the latest fintech trends will help us position ourselves more prominently as a leader in digital financial services. His deep experience across the entire fintech spectrum from serving as an architect all the way up to a business development executive, will allow us to target strategic partnerships to augment our global reach and help shape our product roadmap to respond to the evolving needs of the sector.”

Webinar: Introduction to Mojaloop from the Gates Foundation

We’re pleased to have Matt Bohan and other members of the Gates Foundation lead a webinar giving an introduction and Q & A session on the recently released Mojaloop.
The webinar was held on Wednesday January 10 at 1500GMT via GoToTraining.

Mojaloop is “open-source software for building interoperable digital payments platforms on a national scale. It makes it easy for different kinds of providers to link up their services and deploy low-cost financial services in new markets.”

At the Mifos Initiative, we believe that Mojaloop nicely complements the Mifos/Apache Fineract stack whereby we provide the core banking infrastructure for client and mobile wallet account management, a financial ledger, and portfolio account management needed by each Digital Financial Service Provider to uniquely identify accounts and initiate and record transactions on financial accounts.

While Mojaloop provides an open source platform enabling an internet of payments providing secure, low-cost, interoperable payments utilizing the following components:

Mojaloop includes four components: an interoperability layer, which connects bank accounts, mobile money wallets, and merchants in an open loop; a directory service layer, which navigates the different methods that providers use to identify accounts on each side of a transaction; a transactions settlement layer, which makes payments instant and irrevocable; and, components which protect against fraud.

To learn more about Mojaloop read the press release, view the FAQ, browse the repo and of course attend the webinar!

We look forward to being an active part of the Mojaloop community and are working on some proof of concept integrations between Mojaloop and Fineract 1.0 and Fineract CN.

Quito Mifos Chapter Helps Promote National Financial Inclusion Policy

On August 22, 2017, representatives of the Mifos chapter of Ecuador, participated in an event held by Red de Instituciones Financieras de Desarrollo (RFD) to impact the broader financial inclusion community in Ecuador.  This project seeks to promote a space for the construction of a National Financial Inclusion Policy, under a broad concept that is not only limited to access and use of financial services, but also proposes the creation of an adequate environment, both in the regulatory sphere, and in enhancing the capacities of the population through financial education, under criteria of protection to the financial user.

These essential pillars of Financial Inclusion, implemented in a joint way, will have a greater probability of impact on sectors excluded populations, to generate processes of economic growth and employment

Quito Chapter president, Jorge Moncayo, participated on this panel whose objective was to have a space for dialogue and proposal by key actors in the process of constructing the national policy for financial inclusion in order to know their criteria and mechanisms of contribution in relation to the proposal presented by RFD. The 60 minute discussion was moderated by Yamile Pinto – Chief of Institutional Strengthening of RFD who conduct two rounds of questions for participants at the table with the following approach:

  • What is your analysis regarding the current situation of Financial Inclusion in Ecuador and against this what is your criterion regarding this initiative to have a national policy?
  • How would their organizations be inserted in the process of construction of this national policy? What would be your contributions and / or proposals in this construction process?

After the two rounds of questions there was an open space of interaction with the audience for approximately 20 minutes.

The Quito Mifos Chapter is looking forward to more participation in local fintech and financial inclusion events and will soon be hosting its own events to advanced thought leadership in financial inclusion and hackathons to promote innovations in technology for financial inclusion.

 

Meet the 2017 Mifos Google Summer of Code Class of Interns

Google Summer of Codegsoc2016-sun-373x373 2017 will soon be underway. GSOC is now in its 13th year and we’re proud to be participating in GSOC once again for the fourth time as the Mifos Initiative and the sixth year overall. This year will be our biggest year to date. We were able to select twelve interns from our pool of more than 90 applicants. We are very grateful for Google to allocating us so many slots to allow us to pick from the many impressive students that applied, especially amongst mobile and web developers where we had an overwhelming number of applicants. As the voice for the financial inclusion community within Apache Fineract, the Mifos Initiative looks forward to participating in GSOC for many years to come to deeply engage with the high number of students interested in Fintech and captivated by our mission.

This year we’ll have interns representing six different countries and four different continents, once again working on all components of the Mifos X stack that’s powered by Apache Fineract. On the front-end we have 4 students that will be working on various features of our AngularJS web apps under the mentorship of Gaurav Saini, Pranjal Goswami, and new mentors Maulik Sonaji and Vinay Saini. On the mobile apps side of things, we have 4 students working on various Android apps powered by our stack; they’ll be mentored by Ishan Khanna, Satya Naryan and first-time mentor Puneet Kohli. On the back-end, working on either new platform features, analysis, or modules integrating with Mifos X, we have 4 students as well being mentored by Antony Omeri, Avuk Etta and new mentors, Kyriakos Patsias, Avik Ganguly, Dhirendra Pratap, and Mark Reynolds.

Tarun Mudgal and Mayank Jindal, both 2016 Mifos GSOC aspirants, will be continuing the work that Rajan led in 2016 and extending offline functionality, building new features like the collection sheet and more to deliver Version 4.0 of our Android Field Officer App. Dilpreet Singh will be building on top of the Android self-service app by improving its usability, and adding in  additional features like mobile money integration. Naman Dwivedi will be working on a brand new project, building out a modular mobile wallet framework that integrates with the UPI in India.

Gopala Krishnan will be working on our re-skinned community app by increasing usability and redesigning screens and workflows. Raunak Sett will use our self-service APIs to build the first self-service web app for Mifos X. Mohit is going to be completing making the web app available offline in Chrome browsers and Courage Angeh is extending the notifications framework further throughout the web app and integrating with other Mifos X interfaces.

On the back-end we have quite a bit going on. Alex Ivanov, our 2014 GCI grand prize winner, has returned to the community and will build out two-factor authentication. Kumaranth Fernando, another 2016 GSOC aspirant, will be working on the oft-requested enhancements and integration to our data import tool. Vladimir Fomene will be genericizing and enhancing the mobile money gateway kicked off by Daniel in 2016. Thisura Phillips will be conducting extensive static analysis and fixing the vulnerabilities he finds on Apache Fineract.

A big shout out to all our mentors without whom Google Summer of Code couldn’t be possible. They’ve already dedicated many hours interviewing candidates, reviewing pull requests, and helping refine the scope of the various projects. But their work has just begun and they’re eager to help introduce another generation of software developers to open source while fighting poverty with financial inclusion.

While not officially part of the Mifos Initiative for Google Summer of Code, we have three other projects as part of Apache Fineract including the first mobile field officer app on Gen 3 being led by Rajan Maurya, phase 2 of the credit bureau integration module being led by Nikhil Pawar, and live REST API documentation using Swagger being led by Sanyam Goel.

For all of these projects, we’re still nailing down the exact use cases and scope of work, so please respond to the ongoing discussions on our mailing lists to provide feedback and suggest what you need.

As we do each year, here’s a brief intro on each of our interns and stay tuned for a follow-up post with some fun facts on each of them.

Mobile Apps

Tarun Mudgal – India

  • Android Field Officer App 4.0
  • Mentor: Puneet Kohli
Mayank Jindal – India

  • Android Field Officer App 4.0
  • Mentor: Puneet Kohli
Dilpreet Singh – India

  • Android Self Service App 2.0
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna & Puneet
Naman Dwivedi – India

  • Mobile Wallet Framework for UPI in India
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna

Front-End & Web Apps

Gopala Krishnan – India 

  • Web App Enhancements
  • Mentor: Maulik Sonaji
Raunak Sett – India

  • Web Self-Service App 1.0
  • Mentor: Vinay Saini
Mohit Bajoria – India

  • Browser-based Offline Access
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini
Courage Angeh – Cameroon

  • Notifications Framework
  • Mentor: Pranjal Goswami

Back-End & Modules

Alex Ivanov – UK/Bulgaria 

  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Mentor: Avik Ganguly
Vladimir Fomene – Ghana

  • Mobile Money Gateway
  • Mentor: Ayuk Etta & Antony Omeri
Kumaranth Fernando – Sri Lanka

  • Data Import Tool Integration & Enhancements
  • Mentor: Kyriakos Patsias and Dhirendra Pratap
Thisura Phillips – Sri Lanka

  • Static Analysis of Apache Fineract
  • Mentor: Mark Reynolds

Read more