Mifos wins 2021 Banking Tech Award for Best Contribution to Economic Mobility in Banking & Finance

The Mifos Initiative is honored to have been chosen by Fintech Futures as the Winner of the 2021 Banking Tech Award for Best Contribution to Economic Mobility in Banking & Finance.

It is as honor to have been selected from an impressive class of finalists including:

  • Comviva Technologies Ltd. – MOVii, Colombia (Highly Commended)
  • Robocash Group – UnaPay (Highly Commended)
  • Nuapay and One Banks  – Nuapay Open Banking with One Banks
  • Bank of America – Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment®
  • Current – Enabling Americans to change their lives by creating better financial outcomes
  • Davivienda – Daviplata
  • Oxbury Bank Plc – Oxbury Farm Credit
  • Orange – Orange Money Africa
  • Lili – Lili Pro

This award recognizes projects using fintech/banking tech to champion financial inclusion and economic mobility. Examples include products/services for the underbanked communities and areas; products and services for specific demographics that are often overlooked, such as children and pensioners; innovative salary and benefits management tools; increasing financial literacy; promoting financial health etc.

This prestigious recognition helps to affirm our proven approach of unlocking a virtuous cycle of innovation which in turn fuels the virtual spiral of financial inclusion. As part of our 2030 vision, our global community strives to enable meaningful usage of financial service to more than 500 million individuals by 2030. We are making incredible progress towards that goal by providing the global financial services sector a common digital public good – modern, open source core banking infrastructure delivered as a set of OS building blocks which can be composed into any type of financial service.

Our end to end technology stack for digitizing customers & wallets, managing savings & loan accounts, and orchestrating payments aligns with the philanthropic sector’s movement around digital public goods and the commercial sector’s movement around embedded finance. By providing a set of open source building blocks for banking we make core banking commoditized infrastructure enabling any organization anywhere in the world to embed financial services in any solution for any consumer via any channel.

You can view a list of all the winners and finalists.

About the Banking Tech Awards

The Banking Tech Awards recognise excellence and innovation in the use of IT in financial services worldwide, and the people who make it happen. 2022 will be the 23rd year for these prestigious awards.

For banks and financial institutions, winning a Banking Tech Award showcases the value of their technology investments and showcases their skills, commitment, creativity and execution.

For software providers, a Banking Tech Award is a valuable recognition of the company’s products and services.

For individuals and teams, a Banking Tech Award is a prized acknowledgement of their skills, leadership, vision, inspiration and dedication to the industry’s betterment.

The 2022 awards ceremony will take place on 1st December 2022 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.

The Banking Tech Awards are owned and produced by FinTech Futures, the definitive source of news and analysis of the global fintech sector.

mifos-slack

Join the Mifos Slack Community!

In efforts to speed the elimination of poverty through financial inclusion, we here at the Mifos Initiative simply cannot do it alone. It takes a community of like-minded individuals who share the same vision for the future: financial inclusion and accessibility for all. Since the Mifos Initiative is a global community, it can sometimes be difficult to feel connected. To help eliminate this feeling of disconnect, we would like to invite you to join our Mifos Slack as a way of improving community engagement and communication around the initiative! 

This Mifos Slack space is a great and simple way to get involved with the Mifos community. By no means does it eliminate our other communication tools like developer mailing lists, but we see it as a way for Mifos users to more effectively communicate with one another in a more synchronous and real-time manner. 

Below are some of the benefits that you can expect from Mifos Slack which we hope will become a home for the global Fintech for Good developer community. 

Join the Mifos Slack

Community Engagement

As a member of the Mifos Slack space, you will be a part of a worldwide community of Mifos users, partners, volunteers, interns, employees, and even general people interested in the Mifos Initiative. The Mifos Slack community is not restricted to everyday contributors, and is welcome to anyone interested in learning more about Mifos and open source. Within our Slack space, you will find different channels relating to different markets and topics. There is also a general Slack channel where you can find a wide variety of fintech and open source related material. Joining these different Mifos Slack channels of your interest is a great way to better connect with the global Mifos community.

Questions and Answers

Another benefit of Slack is the ability to ask and answer questions in a quick manner. Members of the Mifos community use our slack space to ask a variety of questions that relate to the Mifos software. Users are always willing to help with any questions or confusions you might have with the Mifos platform and usually respond within a timely matter since the community consists of people around the world. If you have any general or more technical questions, don’t hesitate to post and reach out to the community, and someone is more likely than not to give you the answer you are looking for. 

General Interest

The Mifos Slack space is not solely for Mifos contributors or partners, but is also intended for the general open source community and fintech for good. If you have little to no knowledge of open source and the Mifos Initiative, our Slack space is still a great way to learn more so you can get involved in the future. It’s also a fantastic place to share anything you find intriguing in the world relating to open source banking or fintech for good. Feel free to pose questions, polls, and comments to spark conversation and get the community talking. The Mifos Initiative is driven from our community, and an active community makes for better and brighter ideas for the future.

If you want to stay connected and up to date with the community, we here at the Mifos Initiative strongly encourage you to join us on Slack. It’s easy to join and the amount of engagement is up to you!

Mifos Slack Space Orientation

Here is a little bit of an orientation on the various channels in our slack space. 

Slack is meant to complement our existing developer mailing lists and discourse forums to provide a free-flowing space for real-time collaboration, discussing development, brainstorming new ideas and solutions, getting help, following the latest trends, and more.

We have channels for each main part of our tech stack:

  • #fineract (core banking platform for customer, account/wallet, loan and savings management [gen 2])
  • #fineract-cn (cloud-native application framework for digital financial services [gen 3])
  • #payment-hub (payments orchestration – real-time payments, mobile money)
  • #web-app (staff web UI for Fineract)
  • #mobile-field-ops (staff mobile apps for Fineract) 
  • #mobile-wallet (mobile wallet apps)
  • #mobile-banking (mobile banking apps)

You can find all this source code in our Mifos repos or Apache repos. 

You could also join one of our working groups:

  • #ai-ml
  • #devops
  • #open-banking
  • #product-management
  • #savings

We also have some other channels for general collaboration

  • Need to a consultant for development on top of Fineract, hiring fintech developers for your team, implementing Mifos and need support. Post what you’re looking for in #jobs
  • Need some help or general support with building, implementing, or simply using Mifos and Fineract. Post your question in #help
  • Are you a proud user of Mifos or Fineract or a solution powered by our APIs? We’d love to know what you’ve built and what use cases you’re supporting by showcasing what you’ve done in #powered-by-mifos
  • Come across an interesting article or report? Want to discuss the latest trends in financial inclusion or fintech for good? Let the creativity flow in #mindmeld

Showcasing the Fineract Ecosystem at ApacheCon

ApacheCon 2021 is underway and a big shout out to Javier Borkenztain from Fiter for organizing the Fineract Fintech track with a diverse range of speakers and panelist from within the community and beyond. A huge thank you to Rich Bowen and all the volunteers for coordinating an inclusive and engaging virtual event. Once again I’m looking forward to the second-ever Fineract track as a great means to:

  • Showcase and highlight Mifos & Fineract adopters, and the breadth of use cases the platform has been able to support
  • Explore the evolution of the community and how we can grow and adapt to enable more widespread participation and upstream contribution to enable a virtuous cycle.
  • Practically discuss how to enhance and evolve the platform to meet the growing scalability and performance requirements as more and more digital banks and fintechs adopt the platform as well as expand the functional footprint to support broader and deeper verticals
  • Take a glimpse into the future of Fineract and the innovations around AI, the cloud, mobile, digital identity, decentralized finance, central bank digital currencies and more that will shape the future of financial services.

Register below as attendance for all the sessions and networking is free.

Over the past year, as the Mifos Initiative has worked more directly with innovative financial institutions and fintechs to build out their solutions on Fineract, we have seen firsthand the immense opportunity and need for the platform. We are endorsing a broader mission of democratizing financial services and embracing our long-standing position of making core banking commoditized infrastructure that enables financial services to be embedded anywhere and everywhere.

It’s always great to see cross-pollination with other communities so I’m looking forward to the participation from other exemplary members of the open source community like Graham McBain from Moov, Joseph Jacks from OS Capital, and Kelly Switt from Red Hat, and Kanchana Welagedara from JP Morgan and FINOS. 

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Mifos Welcomes Advisor, Deepa Prahalad

Next up, we are thrilled to announce our newest oncoming member of our board of business and technical advisors, Deepa Prahalad. As an advisor, Deepa will be focusing a majority of her time on design, storytelling, and communication in order to build a more tight-knit community around the Mifos Initiative. Deepa believes that paying attention to aspirations can often create a faster adoption and widespread impact which is usually overlooked in the process of making things affordable. What motivated Deepa to become an advisor was the mission behind the Mifos Initiative: “Creating tools for financial inclusion for billions of unbanked and under-banked people around the world”. She believes that this is a crucial part of creating opportunity and prosperity for future generations.

With a political science and economics background, a specific skill-set Deepa plans to bring to the Mifos Initiative is combining the macro-level understanding of trends with deep dives into consumer mindsets and aspirations. Deepa says that “bringing both of these elements directly into the design of an organization’s products and services is what can maximize profit and impact”. Deepa’s deep knowledge in strategy and design will go hand in hand to reach these goals.

When asked about the most critical action we can take to end global poverty, Deepa responded with:

“It’s natural to want to provide ‘solutions’, but most social challenges like poverty are extremely complex.  I think Muhammad Ali made a great point when he said, ‘It’s not the mountains in the distance that wear people down – it’s the pebble in your shoe.’ People are not waiting passively to be ‘saved’, even when they are in desperate circumstances.  They are usually trying to solve their own problems.  A lot of the inequality we see around the world reflects a lack of choices, not a lack of awareness.  The impact that organizations have on society is huge because they expand the range of choices we have.  This is where business can really make the world a better place.”

In the short time we’ve been working with Deepa she’s already stimulated some great ideas and creative strategies to grow our community. One such project that she’s helping us launch is our Mifos 2030 Vision Campaign. We will paint a clear picture of how we envision the world as we see it in 2030 and invite the rest of the community and ecosystem in sharing their own commitment to how they personally can make that vision a reality. We will be formally unveiling it soon but it will be a powerful campaign and strategic vision for our initiative that will tell a powerful story of what we’ve accomplished to date including testimonials from our community, set key milestones and benchmarks our community will aspire to in alignment with the UN SDG of No Poverty by 2030, and establish an actionable roadmap with commitments from partners which will guide our community.

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Mifos Welcomes Advisor, Allison Baller

We are excited to formally announce the newest member of our board of business and technical advisors, Allison Baller. Allison provides the relevant experience and knowledge of the global fintech market to make an immediate impact here at the Mifos Initiative. As a new member of the Mifos Advisory Board, Allison is motivated and passionate about exploring new ways to leverage technology and build innovative business models for financial health which will make a difference globally for the underserved.

A unique skill set Allison hopes to bring to the Mifos Initiative as an advisor is her strong interest and experience with “the customer”, and the ability to develop new business models often with emerging technology and a passion for creating innovative partnerships. Allison has had the opportunity to fine tune these skills from her 2 decades of experience engaging with Banks, Telecommunications companies, and retailers and Fintechs across emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Allison says that she is “especially excited to engage in some of the Mifos endeavors in Latin America”. That being said, Allison is happy to work on any project in any market as well.

Here’s a bit more on Allison:  Allison serves as the Vice President and Head of Industry Readiness for the FedNow Service, a near real-time payment and settlement service under development by the Federal Reserve Banks to support instant payments in the United States. Baller helps facilitate industry readiness specifically focused on adoption and innovation through partnerships across the ecosystem of Banks, Payment Service Providers, and Fintechs. Prior to joining the Federal Reserve, Baller spent more than two decades at IBM, where she held various global leadership roles in blockchain, cloud, and emerging payments. Her career has focused on building new business models and accelerating the transformation from cash to digital payments across Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Retail.

When asked about the most critical action we can take to end global poverty, Baller responded with this list:

  1. “An ability to foster strong public-private partnerships”
  2. “The need to ensure we develop sustainable business models to support financial health across nations”
  3. “Strong education and marketing communication”
  4. “Incentives to spur new ideas which build upon emerging technology and the latest innovations with open standards on a global platform”

We are eager to work with Allison in executing upon that list and already have a number of projects in mind that she can help to steward including:

  • Sustainability of the initiative by enabling more self-funded revenue derived from the value being created by fintechs across our ecosystem.
  • Development of the ecosystem, especially around the market-readiness of solution providers, with a focus on mobile wallets and payments interoperability
  • Positioning and branding for Mifos Initiative –  translating from our current developer-centric orientation to a narrative that aligns with global funders and partners that could catalyze and support our efforts.

An interesting fact about Allison is that she has always had a passion for exploring new markets and making a difference to improve lives around the world.

“I have many fond memories and I have learned a lot from my experience in diverse countries including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the Philippines, Thailand, Cuba, and many others. My love for diverse cultures, languages, and adventure stemmed from spending time studying and exploring Central America, followed by my first “real job” which I held while living in Venezuela in the early 90’s”

Please help in welcoming in Allison to the Mifos Community! We thank her for providing her time and knowledge to help the initiative.

 

 

Digital Public Good Alliance Launches Five Year Strategy

The Digital Public Goods Alliance (DGPA) is launching its flagship 5 year strategy that guides not only the Alliance itself, but lays the groundwork for collaboration with  governments, industry, the UN, civil society, and more. The DPGA is a globally distributed, multi-stakeholder alliance working to accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods.

“DPGs represent an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally alter power balances and knowledge asymmetries by enabling countries to access cutting edge features by default, drive their own digital transformation processes, and grow their local ecosystems to derive value.”

Liv Marte Nordhaug from the Norwegian Agency for International Development Cooperation and Lucy Harris from UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, co-leads of  the DPGA Secretariat, the Alliance’s central coordinating body, have penned a blog post sharing their vision for the DPGA and will be launching this during a Zoom webinar on June 29 at 830am EDT.

This past December we announced that Mifos and Fineract had been recognized as Highlighted Digital Public Goods as part of the Financial Inclusion Community of Practice. Throughout the course of 2021, we’ve had the honor of participating in monthly roundtables with the other DPGs and are pleased to have Mifos and Fineract included in the Financial Inclusion DPGs Digital Public Infrastructures Final Report that is also being formally published at this event.

Since our origins nearly two decades ago, Mifos has been a pioneer in a humanitarian free and open source software. We’ve been honored to a be a part of the Digital Public Goods Alliance and the tremendous work it’s doing to define digital public goods, align development sector focus around them, cultivate the ecosystem for them to flourish, and catalyze new innovation by leveraging them as foundational infrastructure. 

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Meet the 2021 Google Summer of Code Interns for Apache Fineract

After the long and difficult year that 2020 provided us with, we are excited to announce some positive news as we are kicking off our 2021 Google Summer of Code! Our community is grateful to be participating in this exceptional 18 year old program for the 10th year. This year, we will have a class of 5 extraordinary interns participating in GSOC as a sub-organization under the umbrella of the Apache Software Foundation. The Mifos Initiative looks forward to participating in GSOC directly in 2022. Although our class is smaller than previous years, the talent and knowledge they provide is unmatched. These 5 GSOC interns will be focusing their time and efforts on Fineract and Fineract CN.

This year is a little bit different since we have a smaller group of interns and a new streamlined version of GSOC that Google is testing out, but don’t let that fool you on the amount of quality work they can get done. Working with a smaller intern class will allow us to work closer with the interns, and provide them with a greater deal of attention and feedback. That being said, we are beyond excited to see the improvements they will be making this summer that we can incorporate within our own work here at the Mifos Initiative. This year, we will have two interns working on our mobile apps for Fineract CN – Fineract CN Mobile and Mobile Wallet for Fineract CN, one intern working on our machine learning credit scorecard, one intern working on the Android SDK for Fineract 1.x, and one intern working on the Fineract backlog and collateral management module.

First, we will have 2 steller interns working to improve different aspects of some of the mobile apps. Varun Jain will be working on functional enhancements to the Fineract CN Mobile app. Specifics on the project include integrating the Payment Hub to enable the disbursement, making use of the GSMA Mobile Money API, adding a task management feature to the app, implementing UI and functionality for creating new accounts and tellers and displaying those detail, improving the offline functionality of the application via Couchbase database support, and improving the GIS features in the app such as location tracking. Varun will be supported in his efforts by his mentors, Ahmad Jawid Muhammadi and Rajan Maurya. Our other mobile app intern for Fineract CN, Kinar Sharma, will be building out a version of the mobile wallet that natively connects to Fineract CN. With support from his mobile development mentors, Devansh Aggarwal, Garvit Agarwal, and Shivansh Tiwari, he’ll be working with the Fintecheando team who will be adding additional APIs in Fineract CN to provide secure self-service operations that can be directly consumed by the new mobile wallet app.

Our next intern, Danish Jamal, will be working on the Android SDK and Fineract Client Project under the mentorship of  Chinmay Kulkarni and Shashank Priyadarshi. The project focuses on simplifying and automating the post processes of SDK generation, such as adding moustache templates to configure the code and add the missing utils and service files automatically. Some plans Danish has for the project include updating the client SDK release using Fineract 1.5.0, improving documentation of the SDK, and then integrating the SDK in the Mifos android-client application.

For our Machine Learning and Credit Scorecard project, we will have our impressive intern, Yemdjih Nasser, focusing his time and efforts improving the credit score system from the previous years. During  the summer, Nasser will be refactoring and patching work from previous years, productionizing the scorecard module, integrating the scorecard in Fineract 1.x/Mifos, implementing credit risk scoring with H20.ai, and then documenting the scorecard service. Nasser will be helped this summer by a team of mentors including Lalit Mohan, Aaashish Sawhney, Abhijit Ramesh, Jeremy Engelbrecht and Rahul Goel. 

Our last phenomenal intern, Benura Abeywardena, will be working on a number of tasks related to making Fineract more performant and robust by tackling issues in the Fineract backlog.  He has already been churning out fixes for a number of functionalities across the loan, client and accounting module but will dedicated most of his project around the long-awaited collateral management module. Benura will be working under the mentorship of Bharath Gowda and Chaitanya Nuthalapati on the functional side and Manthan Surkar and Sanyam Goel on technical side.

Read on for a brief professional intro for each intern and their project and stay tuned for our second round of posts introducing some fun facts about each intern. Feel free to find them on the lists or Gitter and welcome them to the community. Throughout the summer, we’ll have showcases of their work during the community meetings. 

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Mifos Participates in ISO 20022 Hackathon for Cross-Border Payments

This past week, we had the pleasure of participating in the ISO 20022 Hackathon for Cross-Border Payments hosted by the BIS Innovation Hub & Swift. Thanks to Istvan Molnar and the team from DPC along with Godfrey Kutumela for their participation. 

While our submission, Enabling Last-Mile Cross-Border Payments through Mojaloop and Mifos Payment Hub, wasn’t selected as a winner, pulling it together helped us further crystallize our positioning and long-term vision for how our end to end open source stack with open APIs at the infrastructure and application layers can fuel vibrant digital economies. Our articulation showed how far our Payment Hub EE and our integration with Mojaloop has come since we embarked on the initial project led by DIAL

At the heart of our solution for the hackathon was our open source Payment Hub EE which provides the bridge and orchestration engine which transforms messages from the ISO 20022 standard to the Mojaloop format, providing an API-driven architecture that can use ISO 20022 protocols in collaboration with mobile money for last-mile delivery of payments.  

 

Our demonstration showcased a remittance flow from a Payer on a SEPA Instant network into the Payee at a bank in Africa that participates in both networks. From there, using the rich data of ISO 20022 standard and the interoperability of the Mojaloop API, one can envision advanced use cases like for-purpose remittances, merchant, biller and MFI requests to pay, and bulk G2P payments with recourse and confirmation to the beneficiary. 

 

Our congratulations go out to the Mojaloop team that was one of the three winners of the hackathon. We’re eager to see how this recognition of Mojaloop can help accelerate their efforts to harmonize the Mojaloop API protocols with the data-rich ISO 20022 messaging standards. 

Payment Hub EE is under active development and we look forward to adoption and contribution across the Mifos, Mojaloop and ISO 20022 communities. There is great potential in building upon this open stack and utilizing these globally adopted APIs and standards. With Mifos, Fineract, Mojaloop, and OpenG2P all recognized by the Digital Public Goods Alliance as foundational digital public goods for the Financial Inclusion Community of Practice, we’re eager to identify organizations that would like to be a part of a reference implementation of these building blocks. 

Mifos 2020 Year in Review

Take a look at back at some highlights from 2020 as we positioned Mifos and Fineract as foundational digital public goods, providing open building blocks to help rapidly mobilize accounts and payments amidst the response to COVID-19.

Mifos and Fineract selected as UN Digital Public Goods

The Mifos and Fineract communities are honored to have Mifos and Fineract be nominated and selected as Digital Public Goods by the UN-supported Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA). Additionally, both Mifos and Fineract along with OpenG2P, Mojaloop, and MOSIP were selected as part of the 7 key projects by the DPG Alliance’s Financial Inclusion Community of Practice (CoP) to help advance the Secretary General’s digital cooperation roadmap to achieve greater financial inclusion and meet the sustainable development goals by 2030.

The DPGA convenes expert Communities of Practice (CoPs) to support the discovery, assessment and advancement of digital public goods with high potential for addressing critical development needs in low- and middle-income countries. The Financial Inclusion CoP spent the last few months identifying and shortlisting technologies that, in a given country, can be used by a range of service providers and innovators. These technologies can be built on across sectors and have features that can allow countries to freely adopt and iterate them to meet local needs.

The DPGA along with a growing international consensus has recognized digitization of public financing as a key driver of financial inclusion at scale with government payments estimated at $220-$320 billion annually by the IMF. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened this need to equip governments with the ability to rapidly provide accounts and disburse payments to weather the economic impact of the health crisis.

Mifos and Fineract have long aimed to provide a common set of open source building blocks for composable financial services and are happy to see the sector recognize the need to reduce duplicative efforts and formally identify and make discoverable a set of Digital Public Goods and enable collaboration and innovation around them.This critical recognition and endorsement of Mifos and Fineract as these foundational digital public goods will help us in advocating for the adoption and deployment of Mifos for G2P scenarios as countries across the globe stabilize and rebound from the pandemic.

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