SBI led a workshop at the annual SEEP conference in Washington, DC earlier this month titled “The Future of Microfinance in the New Era of Technology-Enabled Alternative Delivery Channels.”
The workshop addressed the changing realities of how microfinance institutions must consider and approach their “market,” especially with the development of technology-enabled alternative delivery channels (ADCs). The workshop outlined the latest developments in ADCs and sought to come to an understanding of the future possibilities for MFIs. The speakers, which included Jesse Fripp, Vice President at ShoreBank International, Jim Hokans, Director at Bankable Frontier Associates, Ryan Favley, Manager of ADC Strategy at ShoreBank International, and Syed Mohsin Ahmed, CEO of Pakistan Microfinance Network, addressed the issues around regulation and the enabling environment related to MFIs, discussed the changing market and both the challenges with technology, commercial models, and new product dynamics based on existing experiences with branchless banking.
The workshop also included a discussion with participants on current trends, considerations, and future prospects for the MFI industry in the context of ADCs. The speakers cautioned MFIs to take time and fully understand the industry, whether the MFI would be able to sustainably benefit from ADCs, and whether it was in line with their strategy. Technology-enabled ADCs are a promising and exciting prospect for MFIs, given the right conditions for both the institution and the market in which they operate.