ACCION PortaCredit: Increasing MFI Efficiency with Technology
How can technology promote efficiency in microfinance?
ACCION's PortaCredit is a technology which speeds the loan application and approval process by enabling loan officers to collect applicant information on handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) and directly uploads the information into a central database. This paper presents the achievements, challenges and lessons learned from the PortaCredit program based on ACCION's experience at Banco Solidario in Ecuador and BanGente in Venezuela.The paper presents some necessary steps to ensure smooth adaptation of PortaCredit in MFIs:
- Training loan officers to use new technology;
- Creating the necessary information technology (IT) infrastructure;
- Buying-in from management at the highest level;
- Training data entry staff.
- Disbursing loans - the loan officers are able to disburse:
- New loan in nearly half the number of cumulative hours it takes using the traditional application and disbursement methodology;
- Repeat loan in four-fifth the number of cumulative hours.
- Eliminating the need to manually enter loan information from the hand-written applications into the institutional database;
- Time saving for back office staff ;
- Faster loan processing as less time is spent on searching for information gaps.
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