How ASHI, a microfinance institution, scaled 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 its business goals, they must enable their branches and 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 that having accurate, real-time data at her fingertips would be essential for leading it toward its goals. With these goals in mind, ASHI set out to find a core banking system that would digitize its operations, provide access to real-time data and reports, and enable it to open new branches. In 2017, after due diligence and consulting with Oradian’s Business Development Managers, ASHI migrated their entire operations to Instafin, the cloud-based core banking system built by Oradian, an award-winning financial inclusion company. Before the end of 2018, ASHI had not only digitized all their branches but opened eight new branches using Oradian’s platform. Deciding on the right cloud-based technology When choosing a new core banking system, the most important factors ASHI considered were: access to real-time data for effective decision-making, ability to generate accurate reports – especially for all-branch consolidation reports, user-friendliness of the system, and easy implementation. ASHI needed a service provider that was focused on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of its customers achieving their vision, mission, goals and objectives. ASHI’s Vice President also prioritized the provider’s support services and how responsive they were to requests. Knowing this would be a long-term partnership, ASHI found the relationship aspect of the decision highly important. Oradian proved to offer a platform and services that are specialized for financial institutions in the Philippines.
Before ASHI started using Instafin, the organization faced specific challenges that were preventing them from growth. Creating consolidation reports was one of their major challenges. 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 organization. Such a process can be tedious and presents an opportunity for human error. Oradian’s core banking platform was built to cater to the everyday needs of financial institutions serving microfinance clients. With Instafin, since it is cloud-based, ASHI can automatically see its branches’ data from the head office, so no manual consolidation is necessary. Before onboarding to Instafin, some of ASHI’s data was inaccurate, which led to incorrect tallies, and so their reports seemed unreliable. Troubleshooting of system errors causing data variances had to be handled by ASHI’s previous provider’s technical support, which was very time consuming. This forced the organization to hire more system administrators to respond to the troubleshooting demands in different branches, which proved quite costly. With Instafin, all ASHI’s data is available in real-time and now its consolidated reports are easily accessible. Driving impact in some of the most remote areas of the Philippines After migrating to Instafin, ASHI was able to clean its data of all duplicates and errors. Accurate, real-time data enables organizations to know and control thier portfolios at all times. With more knowledge and control of its portfolio, ASHI can make better decisions and improve specific parts of its operations. ASHI began simplifying processes to reduce waiting time of its clients for the financial products and services they offer. Opportunities for fraud to occur have also been reduced, since the organization’s supervisors can immediately check for irregularities. Instafin provides a full audit trail that serves as a transaction history on all accounts. This enables ASHI to have important information at our fingertips and react quickly to prevent fraud. The business benefits ASHI saw after shifting to the Oradian platform The biggest business benefit that followed ASHI’s transition to the Oradian platform was the ability to make informed decisions. Data became easily accessible, anytime, anywhere for all levels of management. ASHI’s IT department, now using global best practices, became more efficient — which reduced costs. These changes to the way the organization operates have been transformational because with Oradian providing services designed according to best practices, institutions can completely focus on the financial and other social services they provide to their clients. Financial and operational savings ASHI field officers now have more time for their clients. Before, they found difficulty in balancing the daily collection, but now with Oradian services, they don’t need to spend time computing using a calculator. They simply open the Instafin Field Officer App, which was designed with offline capabilities to support field officers in their day-to-day operations, reduce inefficiencies and errors, and streamline operations. When ASHI’s field staff opens the app, all the data is already there. It’s very easy and fast, so the field officers are able to return home early. ASHI has found that field officers save 70% of time on collections and our office staff saves 90% of their typical data input time. This amounts to tremendous cost savings and opportunity for growth. The Instafin Field Officer App, or IFOA – is improving the productivity of ASHI’s field staff. Before, their field officers used to go to sleep after 2 am. Now they can go to sleep at normal hours and their quality of living has increased. In the case of ASHI’s Branch Account Officers, they used to sleep two or three hours just to complete input of daily transactions, even having to wake up early the following day just to continue data processing. Now they don’t have to wake up early just to meet deadlines. Setting new goals and objectives for the growth of ASHI With accurate data, ASHI is able to access reliable consolidation reports that helped them in their strategic planning for 2020-2023. In this plan, ASHI’s new vision is “A community of servant leaders guiding marginalized families towards social transformation and prosperity,” and its mission: “To provide holistic approach to total human and environmental development.” The organization’s core values, which also form the acronym ASHI, are: Accountability, Social commitment, Human dignity and Integrity. “We set new goals and objectives for the growth and sustainability of ASHI. We could only have achieved this with Oradian’s platform and the continued value of know-how and best practices that the Oradian Community provides,” commented Estrella Andres, Vice President of ASHI.

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