RAFI Micro-Finance

Oradian’s core banking system gave RAFI Micro-Finance the confidence to experiment and innovate.

View on the high waterfalls

“A fool-proof system to make sure our clients get the services they deserve.”

Mikel Alberto Abotiz, Chairman, RAFI Micro-Finance Inc.

  • Customer RAFI Micro-Finance
  • Business Microfinance institution (MFI)
  • Location Philippines
View from the sky to the beautiful sandy shore with few old boats

About RAFI Micro-Finance Inc (RMI).

RAFI Micro-Finance Inc (RMI) supports underprivileged entrepreneurs in the Philippines. With a network of 216 branches, it serves more than 300,000 customers.

RMI is part of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation and works closely with other parts of the Aboitiz group, including Unionbank.

The challenge.

RMI set out on a journey of digital transformation in 2017/18. It knew it needed to streamline its processes to reach more customers, and to do this, it needed a solid foundation in the form of a flexible and scalable, cloud-based core banking system.

The solution.

RMI identified Oradian as the provider that would exactly meet its needs. Oradian is built to plug into third-party apps via APIs, giving it immense flexibility.

In terms of scalability, it is hosted and maintained in the cloud, eliminating any need to build physical infrastructure to support its growth. In addition, its subscription charging model ensures costs are predictable.

Although the implementation coincided with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, RMI was able to complete the roll-out across its hundreds of branches.

“The implementation was a wonderful experience,” recalls Florentino Villa, Head of Business Intelligence and Value Management.

Mikel Alberto Aboitiz, chairman of the Board of RMI, described the result as, “a foolproof system to make sure that our clients get the services that they deserve.”

The proof.

“If your core platform is safe, solid, and unbreakable, you shouldn’t be afraid of innovation.”

With the pandemic came new challenges that needed to be addressed quickly. “We needed to find out how could we ensure the safety of our employees while continuing our operations, and the safety of our clients while they did business with us,” says Villa. “We looked for opportunities to remove non-value-adding processes from the front-end, and strengthen our back-end processes, and limit face-to-face contact.”

To make these kinds of changes quickly and safely meant innovating and experimenting in a way that RMI was unused to. “But as the saying goes, you either change or you perish,” says Villa.

Having Oradian as its core banking system made this possible. “If you are confident that your core platform is safe, solid, and unbreakable, but also flexible and scalable, you shouldn’t be afraid of the ‘innovation garage’ approach,” says Villa. “We were able to play around with different modalities and channels for loan applications and originations, for example.”

To find new, cashless ways to do collections and disbursements, RMI explored partnering with local remittance companies and fintechs. “We were able to compare potential partners by carrying out small scale tests using just one branch or 100 customers, say. We opened ourselves up to the idea that it was OK if some of them didn’t work. We can fail fast, but we can also learn fast.”

The result.

As well as opening the doors to innovation, Oradian has helped RMI make major improvements to its business, reducing processing lead times through:

  • Fewer manual processes
  • More streamlined branch transaction processing
  • A data structure that made it easy to extract, understand and interpret the data.

Above all, it was great for their micro-entrepreneur customers who can now receive their loans faster.

Oradian also made it easier for employees to keep customer data secure and generate accurate up-to-date balances and other information.

The future.

“We have accumulated a good amount of data which will help us further our digital transformation journey by eliminating more non-value adding processes and automating others,” says Villa.

And now that RMI has embraced a more pioneering approach to technology, it has found an appetite for change. “Now that we have Oradian we don’t have to worry about the core and that means we can spend more time on innovation,” he says.

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A fool-proof system that makes sure our clients get the service they deserve.
Head of Business Intelligence, RAFI Microfinance Inc, Philippines

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