Fintechnology Asia Pacific: Striding Toward a Smarter Banking Future
“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation,”—Dean Kamen, a renowned engineer, inventor, and businessman.
Around three years ago, Kutila Pinto was heading a Pacific operation for a major Australian bank. A career banker, finance and digital banking expert, Kutila, during his reign as the General Manager of the bank, was exposed to numerous issues surrounding microfinance and financial inclusion services. He would see many Tier 1 banks initiate microfinance services, but most of them—not being sustainable offerings—would soon perish. “And, since microfinance is not a major part of the business for these banks, they do not invest much into it either,” asserts Kutila Pinto who is now the President of Fintechnology Asia Pacific (FINAP). Even for the other microfinance institutions (MFIs), there were no cost-effective, easily accessible, scalable, and secure solutions. Turning to statistics, Kutila says, “There are more than 2 million MFIs operating in the world, but, a concerning fact is that, 39 percent (about 2.9 billion people) of the world’s population does not have access to any form of financial services.” When Kutila left mainstream banking industry in 2016 in pursuit of following his dream “Digitizing Financial Inclusion,” he wanted to utilize his experience to create a sustainable digital financial solution for the microfinance landscape. Passionate about opening more avenues for the under-banked, Kutila established FINAP.
Even before its formal launch, the product has already started creating an immense buzz in the microfinance software market. The platform has a range of functionalities needed to service the entire microfinance sector. “One of the key reasons to use FINAP Micro for your MFIs’ applications and services is to take advantage of its wide array of security tools and capabilities,” says Salika Wijewardena, principal consultant at FINAP. Furthermore, FINAP Micro will be available as a SaaS and a hosted offering, which significantly reduces the CAPEX and OPEX burden of MFIs. “Being lightweight, cost-effective, and simple-to-use, FINAP Micro empowers MFIs in reaching even the bottommost part of the economic pyramid,” remarks Kutila.
Further elaborating on what makes FINAP Micro best-suited for the microfinance market, President of FINAP states, “We are not a bunch of techies that has developed software. Our leadership team has personally worked in microfinance communities, having identified the ways to bridge the gap between MFI, unbanked and under bank communities, trying to devise an appropriate way to institute banking services among those communities.”All those learnings have gone into designing FINAP Micro.
Another crucial aspect of FINAP is its ability to provide core banking solutions through a single platform. This means that a bank can coalesce the development of digital, internet, and app-based banking services on one platform. Usually, creating these services separately and then integrating takes months, if not years. Additionally, if a bank wants to make changes to any of its services, it has to inform all the related vendors, which can cost millions of dollars. FINAP’s core banking solution is not only cost-effective but also time-efficient in terms of introducing new products by the users.
Amid these innovations, what constantly steers FINAP ahead is its robust research and development (R&D) team, always looking to empower MFIs to deliver a wide variety of digital services. Striding in that path, FINAP is now planning to implement blockchain into its solution to further optimize its performance and security. “We also intend to utilize psychometric data to facilitate better customer interactions,” says Kutila. With these advancements, FINAP is poised to bring a world of change to the microfinance realm, particularly in regions like Africa, Asia-pacific, and South America.