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Google Summer of Code 2017 – End Poverty. One Line of Code at a Time.

gsoc2016-sun-373x373This summer you’ll have the ability to change lives – three billion of them – one line of code at a time. The Mifos Initiative will be participating in Google Summer of Code for the sixth time. Mifos X is an open source technology platform power by Apache Fineract for enabling financial inclusion to the poor. Google Summer of Code is a global program sponsored by Google that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects.  Students accepted to the program will spend their summers coding from May 30 to August 29th and upon successful evaluation, receive a stipend provided by Google. For full details on GSoC, read the FAQ and browse the program timeline – student applications are open from now through April 03! You can apply from our organization page.

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Mifos Android Client Version 3.0 Now Available on Google Play

Screenshot_20170302-001322We’re happy to announce that our latest version of the Mifos X Android Field Officer App is now available on the Google Play store. This release is a culmination of the efforts of many volunteers and interns over the past year and a half but couldn’t have been possible without the leadership and dedication of Rajan Maurya. He poured his heart into refactoring the codebase and implementing offline functionality during Google Summer of Code and has continued that dedication since then. Through all hours of the night, he’s been continuing to add new features and fix bugs to get this release out to the community.

Work has not stopped as we have a ton of ongoing functionality to add that we’re targeting as a 2017 GSOC Project for Android Field Officer App Version 4.0

Read on for a deep dive on each of the new features but here’s a small snapshot of all the new functionality in Version 3.0:

Technical Enhancements

  • Implementation of Material Design (Thanks to Olya Fomenko!)
  • Refactoring into MVP architecture for improved performance

Functional Enhancements

  • Create center new groups & centers
  • Improved navigation & advanced search
  • Open, approve, and disburse new loan & savings accounts
  • Attach documents to loan & savings accounts.
  • Offline Data Collection & Synchronization
    • Synchronize clients and groups for offline data entry
    • Enter repayments, deposits, and withdrawals while offline
    • Create new clients, loans & savings accounts while offline
  • GIS Features
    • Pinpoint client GPS location
    • Track route of field officer

Thanks to the Contributors

Thank you to all of the following contributors who made this release possible: Rajan Maurya, Ishan Khanna, Olya Fomenko, Mayank Jindal, Tarun Mudgal, Ahmed Fathy, Nelly Kiboi, Illia Andrieiev, Padmal, Vishwajeet Srivastava, Nasim Banu, Chhavi Gupta, İhsan Işık, Vatsal Bajpai, Alex Chege, Justin Du, Prempal Singh, Rowland Oti, Siddhant Kumar Patel, Suhaib Khan, Chashmeet Singh, Ashutosh Dadhich, Aashir Shukla, R Harikrishnan, and Vishwesh Jainkuniya.

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On the Road in Indonesia …

While in Indonesia for a series of meetings, I had the chance to do my very first site visit for Mifos.

Our host, the Koperasi Kasih Indonesia, welcomed us at their head office in northern Jakarta nearby the container port.

We spent some time with the team to talk about the Koperasi and the procedures and tools they are currently using. Their goal to grow comes with a need to scale their business procedures and make them more efficient, which leads to better support by a back office solution, and the need to eliminate most of the paper intensive work in the field and the inefficient  manual data transfer in the office. By then just words to me.

KKI invited us to take part in a group meeting held at a member’s house … so we hopped on a scooter and off we went.

20160921_130003As we arrived, the group already has gathered and was waiting for us. You could feel happiness and tension all around as the purpose of the meeting was to start a new cycle and disburse loans. The meeting started with a prayer and the KKI pledge shouted by all attendees (including us) in unison.

20160921_132134Then some rustling noise appeared … paper magically came out of nowhere. For me it was hard to believe: attendance lists, application forms (of every member), ID card copies, disbursement sheets, and agreement forms. Given that the meeting was a joint meeting of two groups, there were over 50! pages of paper, at least.

The formal meeting started with an attendance check, followed by an educational training session. After the training, four members were tested to verify that they have understood the purpose of the Koperasi and the meaning of group liability and their own responsibility for the group and all other members.

One group welcomed a new member; she recited the policies aloud, and showed her “Fra20160921_135818me of Dreams” to all. What is a “Frame of Dream” you may ask. It is a blank surface that every member needs to fill with the goals she wants to reach, e.g. education for her children, better housing, or growth of her small enterprise.

This frame is shown to every member of the group because they are now all responsible for these goals (shared liability taken to the next level). The frame serves two purposes, (1) a self-motivation for the member, and (2) an agreement that everybody cares about the dream of all other group members.

Suddenly action entered the room and all attendees started to move around and lined up: disbursement time was here. Every member, one by 20160921_140904one, was sitting in front of KKI’s employee, the loan amount was stated out loud, and then cash was counted and handed over. Every member then signed off the payment in the disbursement sheet and the agreement form.

20160921_140926The closing of the meeting included a prayer and the KKI pledge again.

My take away after that experience is two-fold. There are two ingredients that make this kind of business work, (1) a social component where everybody is responsible for each other and (2) and the technology that allows a broader outreach by easing the pain of handling paper.

Cash, even if we Westerners are moving away from it, still has some value. It is something you can feel, which is more than simply the money itself. There is some hidden message in cash that could not be erased by electronic money, a transition needs to be made to distinguish between money and expectations/feelings.  

As a techie, my first reaction was that we can solve all this with decent technology. After seeing what really happens, I realized that technology can not replace a group meeting, rather technology needs to assist the social bonding by providing a solution that allows the employee to focus more on the group, instead of handling large amounts of paper, and other mundane details and error checking.

Technology needs to enhance the social experience, not replace it.

-Markus Geiss, Chief Architect

Paul Maritz

Amazon Vs. Open Source

“We strongly believe that the world needs a mechanism to write cloud applications. We don’t want the cloud to be like the bad old days of the mainframe computer. There’s potentially some tension between  people who want the cloud to be closed and proprietary and folks like us who want it to be an option for developers to write cloud applications. History teaches us that every time there’s a major wave of technology and a major new category or platform, then new players emerge. The world went from the mainframe computer, in which IBM was the big winner, to the PC and productivity software, where Microsoft and Oracle were the big winners. Now, we’re going to the cloud as a new category and platform. We know that Amazon is a big winner there but it operates a closed platform and history teaches us that in every major shift, there’s at least one closed winner and at least one open winner. We know that the closed winner is going to be Amazon but we don’t know yet who the open winner is going to be.”

Check out what else Paul Maritz, Executive Chairman of Pivotal and Mifos Chairman of the Board has to say about the future of Open Source and cloud computing in the Forbes article:

Paul Maritz’s Vision For Pivotal And The Battle With Amazon Over Open Source Cloud Computing

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

Announcing Mifos X 16.01: Loan Rescheduling, Loan Loss Provisioning, Floating Interest Rates, Variable Installments & Self-Service APIs

We’re delighted to formally announce the new functionality that’s been made available in Mifos X over the past several release cycles culminating in the Mifos 16.01 release shipped on January 12, 2016. We’ve added major new features which expand the breadth of our loan product offerings, improve risk management and monitoring of your portfolio, and enable your clients to take control of their financial services through self-service channels.

Read on below for a glimpse into the major new features including:

  • Loan Rescheduling
  • Loan Loss Provisioning
  • Floating interest rate loans
  • Variable Installment Loans
  • Self-Service APIs
  • OAuth/HTTPs toggling

In case you missed our 2016 Roadmap Webinar, check it out to learn more about what’s scheduled for development in 2016. For few details on the all the bugs and enhancements from this and the 15.12 releases, view the release notes.

Many thanks go out to all the contributors who made this release possible – especially our core team, partners like Musoni Services, as well as a number of new features that were worked on by volunteers in the community.
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Accion Assesses Musoni App

Powered by Mifos, Musoni Receives High Praise

Musoni Systems worked closely with Accion’s Channels and Technology group on a comprehensive impact assessment of the Musoni App.  The app is designed to improve loan officer efficiency by digitalising the client registration, group registration and loan application processes. The app works in online and offline mode, and can also be used to view reports or to carry out PPI surveys. So far the app has been used to register over 40,000 clients and a similar number of loans.

While the app has always received positive feedback from end users, this was the first rigorous study into the impact the app has had on loan officer performance, branch cost savings and improved client experiences. We’re pleased to say that on all three of these, the app has proved itself an unqualified success.

Key findings of the case study were:

  1. Business Case: Digitalising operations resulted in the MFI realising an increase in income of $86,620 in the first year. As a result of this, launching the Musoni App resulted in a postive ROI in under 12 months
  2. Improved efficiency: Using the Musoni App increased the case load per loan officer by 68% while simultaneously reducing turnaround time (TAT) from 72 hours to 6 hours
  3. Cost Savings: The MFI realised cost savings of $27,246 in the first year of launching the app, achieved by promoting data entry staff into other roles and reduced stationary/printing costs
  4. Improved client experiences: Faster loan disbursements, no need to provide photos or ID photocopies and reduced potential for fraud all resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from clients
musoni field

Musoni Field Officer Registers Client

The Musoni App is provided as standard to any MFI licensing the Musoni System, alongside the mobile money integration, SMS module and system itself, providing a one-stop shop to any MFI looking to benefit from the latest technology.

On average, the five main branches recorded a 68 percent increase in loan officer caseload from January 2013 (pre-DFA) to December 2014 (one year after full rollout).”

Please click on this link, or the button below if you’d like to download the full Accion Case Study into the Musoni App. You can also learn more on the Accion CFI blog where they explain some of the benefits they’ve seen in other MFIs using tablets in the field.

To learn more about Musoni – visit their website.  See the impact these innovating people are making with their app built on top of the Mifos X platform.  As of this writing, Musoni serves more than 150,000 clients in 38 Financial Institutions in 9 Countries.  This count grows every day.  Impactful.

Congratulations on a job well done.

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.

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Announcing Mifos X 1.26: Improved Guarantor Management, Teller Cash Management, Configurable Account Prefixes and more

Just in time for the new year, we shipped the latest release, Mifos X 1.26.0, on December 23 which provides a range of new functionalities across our suite of lending and savings products as well as a number of usability enhancements and bug fixes. Major new features include support for capturing guarantee requirements for loans and blocking/holding funds on guarantor accounts, a beta version of our teller cash management module, new statuses for client life cycle, the ability to map liability accounts to fees, ability to update deposit amounts for active recurring deposits, support for capture client images from a linked webcam, and functionality to configure account prefixes on client, loan and savings accounts. With the range of bug fixes and UI enhancements, there are more than 75 tickets fixed in this release. Download Mifos X 1.26 now or request a trial instance to try it out for your organization. Read more

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Banking Reinvented – Open, Cloud & Mobile

Video from James Dailey’s talk at FinDEVr is now live. Watch his invigorating talk on using the Mifos X open technology platform to bring financial services to the 4 Billion underbanked worldwide. We’re helping financial innovators deliver banking as a service in the cloud and via mobile devices. For full details, see our page on the Finovate website and James’ blog from the event.

 

Announcing Mifos X 1.25: WebHooks, Accrual Accounting, Declining Balance with Interest Recalculation

The core team and community have been hard at work at continuing to broaden the functionality of Mifos X and make the platform more extensible for our ecosystem of partners. This release delivers on some must-have financial and accounting features with support for perodic accrual accounting with point-in-time accruals, true declining balance with interest recalculation with support for configurable rest periods and compounding settings, the ability to pre-pay loans, bulk JLG loan applications, and a whole range of usability enhancements.  On the architectural side, we’ve built out a WebHooks framework with a proof-of-concept Twilio SMS integration, shipped our Batch APIs for improved performance, and an Executable WAR for quick installation of Mifos X. Download Mifos X 1.25 now or request a trial instance to try it out for your organization. Read more