RAFI Micro-finance Inc
An Oradian customer success story
Find out how Oradian’s core banking platform gave RAFI Micro-finance Inc in the Philippines the confidence to experiment and innovate.
About RAFI Micro-finance Inc
RAFI Micro-finance Inc (RMI) supports underprivileged entrepreneurs in the Philippines. With a network of 216 branches it has more than 300,000 customers. RMI is part of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc and works closely with other parts of the Aboitiz group, including Unionbank.
RMI set out on a journey of digital transformation in 2017/18. It knew that in order to reach and help more customers, it needed to streamline its processes. To do this, it needed to be able to create a solid foundation in the form of a flexible and scalable core banking platform.
“A fool-proof system to make sure our clients get the services that they deserve.”
Mikel Alberto Abotiz, Chairman, RMI
RMI identified Instafin from Oradian as the platform that would give it exactly what it needed. It is built to plug into third-party apps via APIs giving it huge flexibility. In terms of scalability, Instafin is hosted and maintained in the cloud, eliminating the need for customers to worry about building and maintain the infrastructure necessary to support their growth; the subscription charging model means costs are predictable, being .
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 Mr. Florentino Villa, Head of Business Intelligence and Value Management.
Mr. Mikel Alberto Aboitiz, chairman of the Board of RMI, described the result as “a fool-proof system to make sure that our clients get the services that they deserve.”
“If your core platform is safe, solid, and unbreakable, you shouldn’t be afraid of innovation”
With the pandemic came new challenges which 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,” recalls Mr. 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 Mr. Villa.
Having Instafin as the core banking platform 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 Mr. Villa. “We were able to play around with different modalities and channels for loan applications and originations, for example,” he says.
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.”
As well as opening the doors to innovation, Instafin has helped make major improvements to the 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.
Instafin also made it easier for employees to keep customer data secure and generate accurate up-to-date balances and other information.
“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 Mr. Villa.
And now that RMI has embraced a more pioneering approach to technology, it has found an appetite for change. “Now that we have Instafin we don’t have to worry about the core and that means we can spend more time on innovation,” he says.