Interview with Vice President of ASHI, an MFI scaling using Oradian’s cloud-based banking platform

Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) is a microfinance institution NGO that operates from Quezon City, serving more than 74,000 clients through 60 branches in the Calabarzon and Western Visayas regions with over 600 employees. ASHI’s mission is to improve access to financial services in their communities to enable families to lift themselves out of poverty.

Estrella Andres, Vice President of ASHI, was prompted to realign ASHI’s IT strategy when ASHI set new goals for growth: number of branches, number of clients served, community coverage and an updated list of services offered. ASHI knew that to reach their business goals, they must enable their branches and their teams to become more efficient while reducing their operating costs.

Estrella Andres also knew she would be faced with a number of strategic decisions. She knew having accurate, real-time data at her fingertips would be essential for leading ASHI toward their goals. With these goals in mind, ASHI set out to find a core banking system that would digitise their operations, provide access to real-time data and reports, and enable ASHI to open new branches.

We spoke to Estrella Andres to learn how her team enabled her organisation to scale ASHI’s operations and impact in some of the most remote areas of the Philippines using cloud-based technology.

Oradian: Which criteria did you have when evaluating core banking systems?

Estrella Andres: When looking for a new core banking system, the most important factors for us were to be able to access real-time data and generate accurate reports, user-friendliness of the system, and easy implementation.

We needed a partner that was focused on our organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness in achieving our vision, mission, goals and objectives. Also, a priority for us was the provider’s support services and how responsive they were to our requests. We knew this would be a long-term partnership, so we found the relationship aspect of the decision highly important.

Oradian proved to check all of our boxes with their platform and services that are specialised for financial institutions in the Philippines.

Oradian: What were the challenges your organisation faced before using Oradian’s platform?

Ms. Andres: One of our major challenges before we partnered with Oradian and started to use Instafin was creating consolidation reports. Such a process can be tedious and presents an opportunity for human error. With a cloud-based system, we can automatically see our branches’ data from our head office – so no manual consolidation is necessary.

Consolidation reports are necessary when each branch must submit its individual data to the head office which then consolidates the data to generate reports for the whole organisation.

Before onboarding to Instafin, some of our data was inaccurate, which led to incorrect tallies, so our reports seemed unreliable. Our previous provider’s technical support had to handle troubleshooting of system errors causing data variances, which was very time consuming. This forced us to hire more system administrators to respond to the troubleshooting demands in different branches – whic was quite costly. With Instafin, we can access all our data in real-time and now our consolidated reports are easily accessible.

Oradian: How has Oradian’s cloud-based platform helped you overcome the challenges your business faced before?

Ms. Andres: After migrating to Instafin, we were able to clean our data of all duplicates and errors. With accurate data available in real-time, we have more knowledge and control of our portfolio. Now we can make better decisions and improve specific parts of our operations. We began to simplify certain processes to reduce waiting time of our clients.

Now, since our supervisors can immediately check for irregularities, opportunities for fraud to happen have also been reduced. With Instafin, we have a full audit trail that serves as a transaction history on all accounts. This enables our team to have important information at our fingertips and react quickly to prevent fraud.

Visionary financial institutions in the Philippines are looking for cloud-based core banking platforms that will bring them operational efficiencies and growth. Are you ready to take the measures necessary to ensure your data is future-proof?

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