Microfund for Women embraces digital transformation with MoneyPhone
When crisis hits and conventional channels suddenly become unfit for purpose, how do you survive the shift and show up for customers who need you more than ever? Jordan’s Microfund for Women turned to MoneyPhone to drive new digital ways of working – keeping credit flowing to borrowers and developing fresh educational resources to help customers navigate a new reality.
MicroFund for Women is a non-profit microfinance institution (MFI) dedicated to empowering the most vulnerable segments of society, especially women and refugees. MicroFund for Women offers a variety of financial and non-financial services, including loans, micro insurance, business development and education. The organisation operates 63 branches across Jordan and currently serves more than 140,000 active borrowers.
Rising to the challenge
More than one year on from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, our world continues to grapple with the changes and challenges brought about by the pandemic. MicroFund for Women’s clients have been hit especially hard: Continuous lockdowns have brought business to a halt across many sectors and disrupted the flow of income to communities that count on it the most. Many people have been left without the means to pay back existing loans and found themselves cut off from traditional sources of financial support.
Faced with these extraordinary circumstances, MicroFund for Women was determined to find new ways to deliver vital financial assistance and education to people who needed it more than ever. To deliver on this goal, the organisation looked to ramp up its digital capabilities – not just when it came to lending, but across the entire customer lifecycle.
Bdour Al-Hyari, Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development at MicroFund for Women, reflects: “It was an opportunity for us to introduce new digital services, such as online trainings and telephone health consultations. We really pushed a lot with the digital, and the government also supported us; for instance, with the moving forward with use of e-wallets in Jordan.”
MoneyPhone enables new ways of working
MoneyPhone technology has played a central role in driving this move to digital. MicroFund for Women uses the Digital Loan Origination Solution to enable fully online loan applications, disbursements and repayments – allowing customers to apply for and access all-important credit quickly and safely, without the need for in-person interaction.
“During quarantine, we had all our team members working on the digitals we have,” notes Bdour Al-Hyari. “Whether it was through collecting money, through managing e-wallets or through introducing online trainings to our beneficiaries who were introduced to our mobile application with MoneyPhone.”
Sharing valuable learnings
MicroFund for Women is putting its first-hand experience with digitization to use in ways that go beyond lending too – providing training and guidance that are helping customers to navigate a new reality.
Bdour Al-Hyari notes: “Just as we have had to adapt to new digital ways of doing business, our customers need to change their business models too. We're offering consultations to reduce people’s reliance on physical interaction while doing businesses. We are introducing these new ideas through our learning academy, where we use e-wallet as a way for people to pay for the trainings.”
Moving to digital ways of working has enabled MicroFund for Women to meet the demands of doing business in a changed world – all while bringing a big boost to operational efficiency. The organization can now reach a wider range of customers more quickly and cost-effectively through digital channels – overcoming continued restrictions caused by the pandemic and enabling safe online interaction.
As more customers get on board with the new digital approach, MicroFund for Women expects the benefits to keep increasing too.
“Having a strong system such as MoneyPhone allows us to have more people coming in through online onboarding,” says Bdour Al-Hyari “This will enable us to cut our operational costs and to reduce the interest rate and the cost of lending as well. It's a win-win situation for everybody. For us, it's more efficient. For the beneficiaries, it's more cost-effective and easier.”
For MFIs who are undecided about making a similar move themselves, MicroFund for Women’s experience shows that there is much to be gained from digitization – and potentially more to lose by failing to act.
Bdour Al-Hyari concludes: “Being digital or not – it’s not a question of if it will happen. It's a question of when it will be dominant. The fact is, if you don't go through all the changes and learn from it, you will be out of the market. Start now, or you will be out of the game.”