The project is launched in 282 branches in 16 states.

Bangalore-based Ujjivan Financial Services Pvt Ltd, one of the top-tier microfinance institutions in the country, has rolled out hand-held field technology devices as it seeks to take the loan approval process online and expedite disbursals.

It has collaborated with fin-tech firm Artoo to enable field staff with internet-enabled handheld tablets which run a lending solution.

The project is aimed at providing quick and appropriate loans to its customers, reduce the turnaround time as well as improve efficiency and productivity in disbursing loans.

The project has been launched in 282 branches across 16 states and is expected to handle Rs 3,000 crore of disbursements over three years once it is rolled out in all operating branches of Ujjivan.

“Though this solution has come at a cost, the benefits are already visible. Today, Ujjivan’s individual loan process is as efficient as of any new-age bank,” said Samit Ghosh, managing director and CEO at Ujjivan.

The technology would allow field tasks such as customer enrolment, underwriting and monitoring to be presented to the user as an application on a tablet leading to better accuracy and cutting down of lag at various stages. Apart from loan processing, the hand-held tablets will be used as training platforms for e-learning and sending important alerts and messages to the field.

Ujjivan is not the first to use technology as an enabler. Earlier, SKS Microfinance had introduced a ‘palm pilot’ project for data collection but had discontinued it citing prohibitive hardware and software costs. International MFIs like ADOPEM have been running palm pilot projects successfully over the years.

Ujjivan had raised Rs 600 crore ($96 million) from CX Partners, CDC, NewQuest Asia Investments and Bajaj Holdings last month, making it the second-largest fundraise in the MFI sector in India after Bandhan.

The sector has seen renewed investor interest in the past few years. Ujjivan has gross managed assets of more than Rs 3,100 crore. It follows joint liability group lending and individual lending models and has a network of 423 branches across the country in 21 states and three union territories.

“The next step would be to move to image-based processing, which is being piloted in a few branches. Instead of collecting photocopies of KYC documents, images will be collected and digitalised. This will save money and time for our customers and reduce the load of document handling and management for Ujjivan,” Ghosh added.

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