Mifos in Ecuador

Hello Mifos Community,

There are still 2.5 billion people worldwide that do not have access to basic financial services. Financial inclusion is working to bring this number down. However, financial inclusion only works when available. It is costly to implement and difficult to access for many developing countries. This is why the Mifos Initiative has been working to develop Financial Inclusion 2.0, an innovative approach to allow every person access to financial services using just their phone.Mifos in front of Central Bank of Ecuador

Mobile Money in Ecuador

In 2013, Ecuador reported that there were more mobile phone lines than citizens in their country. Yet, 60% of the Ecuadorian population does not have access to financial services, and that number only gets higher in rural areas. Realizing this, the Ecuadorian government saw an opportunity where a mobile electronic payment system could be the answer to their financial inclusion problems. Ecuador implemented the first-ever state-run mobile electronic payment system that is low cost and easy to access for everyone that has a mobile phone. Read more

Mifos Introduces Financial Inclusion 2.0 in the e-MFP Spring 2016 Newsletter

Craig Chelius, Mifos Executive Director, had the opportunity recently to pen this piece for the European Microfinance Platform Spring Newsletter. It outlines what we think is the next path forward to help Financial Inclusion reach the 2 Billion that are still excluded from the formal financial system. Financial Inclusion 2.0 is the fast, low cost, mobile delivery of digital financial services. As an open source pioneer, we are establishing the global open standard to take the industry there. 

OSCON and the Growing Influence of Open Source Technology

Hello Mifos Community!

I’m back again with another post about yet another conference.

Over this past weekend, I was blessed with the ability to go to OSCON, an Open Source conference centered on the power that open source technology can have over a variety of industries, countries, and methodologies. From healthcare reform to open source cloud computing, this conference had an amazing variety of industries that were positively impacted by open source technology. To give you a glimpse of our weekend, I would like to both highlight a few of my favorite moments and give some insight into how the Mifos Initiative has both been a beneficiary and contributor to the open source movement.

OSCON general

Unlike most years, this year OSCON was held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Personally, I thought it was very powerful holding the conference in Austin, (a vastly different city than its predecessor Portland) as it shows how open source is now truly a national movement and is being embraced across the country, even in areas that are historically more resistant to change. With the new venue came a host of new organizations and new speakers, all with new views and stories on how open source has helped advance their respective fields in one way or another. Below are a few of our favorites:

Performance Case Study: Capital One’s quick shift from closed source to open source

This session was especially intriguing to me, as a large bank (Capital One) is finally starting to embrace the open source movement that we at the Mifos Initiative have been a part of since 2006. After the first few minutes of the session, it was easy to see the commonalities between the big banks and our open source initiative. One common thread was the idea that banks must be a technology company first. In other words, in order to be a successful organization, the bank had to produce a banking platform that was easily scalable, user-friendly, and customizable to suit client needs. Sound familiar? All of these features are what we at the Mifos Initiative hang our hat on and are what makes the open source movement so powerful. In our age of agility, scalability, and customization, big banks are beginning to realize the power that the smaller open source initiatives, like the Mifos Initiative, are starting to have on a global scale.

Modern JavaScript Architectures: Clients, microservices, and containers

This session was more technical than the other sessions I went to but nevertheless fit very well with the third generation of our Mifos platform. For those of you that don’t know, the third generation of our platform encompasses taking our current MifosX platform and converting it to a series of microservices that we will containerize and navigate using a variety of cloud-based apps. So, as you can already tell, this talk directly correlated to the work we are doing in the conversion from our current Mifos X platform to the third generation of our open source platform. While I am currently on the business side of the Mifos Initiative, this talk helped me visualize how our platform will be set up at the developmental level. It was a great way to learn more about the inner workings of our platform and see how and why we are following the popular trend towards microservices and cloud-based apps.

Want students who are ready to contribute? Here’s what they should know.

As a student at the University of Washington, this session also struck very close to home for me. I’m lucky to have gotten the opportunity to intern for a great organization that works in the open source community, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. For those that do not get exposed to the power of open source technology, how do we, as teachers and industry professionals help mold the future developers of the world? As a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization, the Mifos Initiative deals with this issue quite often. While we hope to get interns that are well equipped to take on any project we give them, we realize that not everyone is set up for success coming out of college. In order to maximize the production of these interns, we realize that we have to utilize the techniques given in the session to make sure all our students are ready to contribute right away so our projects will get done faster and more developers will be getting necessary experience to help them start their open source development careers.

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OSCON booth

In addition to the new speakers and exhibitor crowd, we were happy to see that a few members from our Mifos community made the trek from Cameroon to learn more about our organization and our industry. Among them was Nyah Check, a good friend of Ayuk the head of Skylabase Solutions, our partner organization in Cameroon working on creating a customized Mobile Wallet/Mobile Money application integration with Mifos. Nyahis currently in the States trying to learn as much as he can about open source technology from the various conferences he’s attended. He hopes to bring this knowledge back to Cameroon so he can build on top of the Mifos banking platform to give needed support to his community back home. He is truly an inspiration to everyone at Mifos and is living proof of just one of the millions of people that we have reached through our open source banking platform.

To wrap up, I would just like to say a quick thank you to our very own director Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable. It was a pleasure running the booth with you and I had a great OSCON experience. I look forward to many more exciting adventures with the Mifos Initiaitive over the summer!

Signing off,

Drew Fass

4th Generation Mifos Intern

Meet the 2016 Google Summer of Code Class of Interns

Google Summer of Codegsoc2016-sun-373x373 2016 is officially underway. GSOC is now in its 12th year and we’re proud to be participating in GSOC once again for the third time as the Mifos Initiative and the fifth year overall. This year was our most selective year ever with an acceptance rate of 6.08%. We received 115 proposals and had to choose amongst many exceptional candidates to allocate our seven slots. Selecting our top candidates that balanced with the highest priority needs of our community was a difficult process but we’re delighted to be working with a stellar team of interns from three continents who will be working on mobile apps, our community app, and new modules and integrations.

On the mobile front, Vishwajeet will be building out our first client-facing app – an Android self-service banking app. Rajan will be evolving our Android field operations app to Version 3.0. Our community app won’t be recognizable after this summer with Duplex working on refactoring and re-skinning it, Mohit adding in browser-based offline access and Adhyan adding in actionable notifications and status alerts. On top of the Fineract platform, Daniel will be adding in a module for mobile money integration and Nikhil working on credit bureau integration.

Given we had to be so selective and turn away so many candidates who had impressive applications and meaningful contributions, we’re pushing to run our own Mifos Summer of Code in parallel. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to provide stipends to the students we couldn’t choose but have high-priority projects along with seasoned mentors ready to guide them. Stay tuned for more on Mifos Summer of Code.

Our Google Summer of Code students started their first day of coding on Monday so please welcome them and send a word of encouragement to our mailing lists. 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.

 

Duplex Kamdjou – Cameroon

  • Refactor & Re-Skin AngularJS Community App
  • Mentor: Pranjal Goswami & Gaurav Saini
Mohit Bajoria – India

Adhyan Srivastava – India

  • Actionable Notifications & Status Alerts
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini & Pranjal Goswami
Vishwajeet Srivastava – India

  • Mifos Self-Service Android App
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna & Swapnil
Rajan Maurya – India

  • Mifos Android Field Operations App Version 3.0
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna and Satya Naryan
Daniel Carlson – Cameroon 

Nikhil Pawar – USA

  • Credit Bureau Integration
  • Mentor: Nayan Ambali and Ashok Auty

Read more

Two Interns Take LinuxFest NW 2016

Hello to the Mifos Community!

Recently, a few members from our Mifos management team went to LinuxFest NW to run a booth and spread our social message of financial inclusion. Led by our Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable, and our two Business Development Interns, Drew (myself) and Jacob, we were able to successfully spread our social message and broaden our Mifos Volunteer corps.

This year marks the third straight year that we have been to LinuxFest NW. Although it is a smaller conference, we are truly thankful for the many volunteers that take time out of their week to put on such a smooth, well run weekend. It is held at Bellingham Technical College, and is mainly run by the students and faculty at the school. While it is easy to overlook these selfless volunteers, we’d like to take a moment to thank them for their service. They are one of the main reasons we continue to come back every year.

Read more

2015 Winter Outreachy Intern Wrapup

As we look towards bringing on a full class of Google Summer of Code interns, let’s reflect on our recent group of interns who completed our Winter 2015 Outreachy program with Mifos for the first time.  Outreachy was a journey for both our interns and our mentors as it brought home many lessons in communications and collaboration across an open source community as  our three interns collectively worked on our Android field operations app. After their contributions we now have a refactored and redesigned app, a wide range of new functionalities for field officers, and a mobile UI for capturing surveys.  Join us in giving a big thank you to Olya, Nelly, and Nasim, and their mentors, Ishan, Gaurav, and Markus. Read on to learn more about what they built and what their most lasting experiences from their internship were.

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Three Countries. Three Conferences. One Common Theme.

Now that the team has safely returned from travel to our three events – our presence at each one has confirmed that our next generation Mifos architecture is the right solution that is needed to guide the world towards Financial Inclusion 2.0. Each stakeholder is ready for this new era – partners building solutions, financial service providers needing greater efficiency to reach their clients, regulators seeking stability and control, and investors seeking transparency and impact.

At TechDays in Amsterdam, the need for the 3rd Generation of Mifos was confirmed by partners new and old. The growth of our partners like Musoni Services and Conflux Technologies showed that they’re reaching a critical point of scale where a new lightweight, cloud-native, and highly scalable architecture is needed. The direct presence of brand new partners confirmed that we are the innovation that powers innovators and that each day new partners are coming our way to build apps that are mobile-first and cloud-enabled.

At the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi, we confirmed the opportunity to set a standard for innovation and be the driving force behind Financial Inclusion 2.0.  The entire industry as a whole is aligning for this to be a reality – financial inclusion providers are ready to go digital and recognize its benefits, national regulators are fostering and advancing an enabling ecosystem, and the technology has evolved with unparalleled computing power available at low cost.

At the Global Microfinance Forum in Berlin, the focus was on investors but they all echoed the pain we’re addressing: costs are too high, access is too hard, innovation is too slow and change is needed. When they gave case studies on examples of successful innovation, they highlighted Musoni Services, one of our gold platform partners that is powered by Mifos X. Meeting these investors and apex organizations was great validation that we are the innovation that powers the innovators.

Craig and Markus will be providing more detailed recaps of our TechDays and the Global Microfinance Forum so I’ll give a more detailed recap on the Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi. Read more

Mifos at the Microcredit Summit for the First Time

Mifos Initiative is honored to be a part of the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi. With its theme of Frontier Innovations for Financial Inclusion, it was the perfect time for us to attend and tell the world our story and journey of transformation since we emerged from the Grameen Foundation. We have been a technology pioneer for microfinance, then financial inclusion, and how will the lead way for Financial Inclusion 2.0.

This is personally my first time at a Microcredit Summit event and of course the venue, the Etihad Towers at Jumeirah is impressive but the buzz and energy of 1000 delegates from 60 different countries is indescribable. Read more

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.
Read more

Introducing our Winter 2015 Outreachy Interns

We’re honored to be participating for the first time in Outreachy after invitations from Marina and other organizers of the program the past couple of years. Our mission of 3 Billion Maries aligns deeply with Outreachy’s goal to helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved. Outreachy is the successor to the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) which was inspired by Google Summer of Code and how few women applied for it. Outreachy is now led by the GNOME Foundation and Software Freedom Conservancy.

37 interns are participating in December 2015 – March 2016 round of Outreachy. We are fortunate enough to take on three brilliant interns from across the world – Nelly Kiboi from Kenya, Olya Fomenko from Ukraine, and Nasim Banu from Canada. We are directly sponsoring one as an Includer-level sponsor and through the generous support of the Outreachy General fund were able to take on two additional interns.

We’re delighted to participate in this program that connects talented and passionate newcomers with people working in free and open source software. Our mentors will help these participants learn how exciting and valuable work on software freedom can be, while helping us to build a more inclusive community.

Visit http://gnome.org/outreachy or follow @outreachy on Twitter to learn more.

Meet our Winter 2015 Mifos Interns

All three of our interns are Android developers and we’ve got them focused on projects that will deliver tremendous value as more and more financial institutions go digital and mobilize their field operations. Nelly will be focusing on building out Version 2 of our Android field app providing new core functionalities needed by staff out in the field. Olya will be providing a refresh to the user experience on the Android field app by implementing Material Design and adding long-awaited offline functionality to the app. Nasim will be building out a mobile interface for our brand new surveys framework including the PPI in addition to optimizing our AngularJS Community App.

Mentoring our interns will be Ishan Khanna, Satya Narayan, and Gaurav Saini. Special thanks to Ishan and Gaurav who have been an instrumental part of the intern onboarding process.

Join in congratulating them on the mailing lists and saying hello! They’ll be sharing progress on their work throughout the coming months.

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