Interview with Sridhar Obilisetty, CEO, mFino
Sridhar Obilisetty, CEO, mFino will be presenting at the 4th MobileMoneyExpo in Lagos - Nigeria, Feb 12 & 13 2014.
MMA: Your assessment of African market in the last 12 months
African economies have been growing at an average GDP rate of more than 5 per cent annually since 2004 and many are expected to achieve higher levels of growth in the coming years.In order to attain sustainable and inclusive growth, a well functioning financial system is a critical prerequisite.Many African countries have made progress in reforming their institutional framework and creating an enabling environment for increased access to financial services. Innovative business models like mobile money, mobile banking, branchless banking and microfinance have increased the financial services penetration ratio.
According to GSMA, mobile contributes over six per cent of the region’s GDP, higher than any other comparable region globally, and this is forecasted to rise to over eight per cent by 2020. Sub-Saharan Africa’s unique mobile subscriber base has grown by 18 per cent annually over the last five years, making it the fastest growing region globally. By mid-2013, there were 253 million unique mobile subscribers and 502 million connections.
The number of mobile money deployments in Africa grew over 16 per cent compared to 2012. Last year saw the launch of the first African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI)to support policy reforms for mobile financial services (MFS) in Africa within a regional framework.
MMA:What is the role of technology in helping banks reach the unbanked?
Technology plays a significant role in the inclusive development and growth of an economy. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where traditional banking has been hampered by transportation and other infrastructure problems, mobile financial services have expanded to 16% of the market.Access to affordable ﬁnancial services is linked to overcoming poverty, reducing income disparities, and increasing economic growth.
As per a World Bank report, cost, distance and documentation are cited as the major reasons why many are financially excluded. For financial services to become more available, accessible, affordable and henceforth inclusive, innovative financial instruments and well-functioning financial infrastructure are needed for the benefit of the unbanked and underbanked.
According to The Economist, a study of rural Kenyan households that use mobile financial services found that incomes increased 5 percent to 30 percent. Plus, the availability of fast, reliable cash is spawning a series of start-ups. With the rapid growth of mobile technology in emerging markets, new technologies are enabling access to banking via a non-traditional route for a growing number of people and in the process driving social development and economic growth.
MMA: What is the future of Mobile Financial Services (MFS)?
With many innovations happening in the mobile space, mobile financial services is positioned for an explosive growth in the coming years. Africa accounts for 15 of the top 20 countries by mobile money usage and, with an estimated 80 percent of adults still unbanked, the potential for growth is enormous. Combined with new developments in commercial payments, and a youth market with strong loyalty to mobile channels, the size of the opportunity is very clear. Nevertheless, many challenges remain. Factors that may effect services offered in any given market now or in the future, include the quality of mobile phone infrastructure and technology in place, the regulatory environment, government tolerance and supporting government policies created to attract investors; political stability and the rate of service take-up that the mobile operators and banks will get from the public.For financial services to become more available, accessible, affordable and henceforth inclusive, innovative financial instruments and well-functioning financial infrastructure are needed for the benefit of the unbanked and underbanked.
MMA:What is the uniqueness of mFino MFS platform? How is mFino MFS platform poised to help financial service providers gain competitive advantage in the market space?
mFino was born with the passion to use the power of 6 billion mobile phones in the world to reach 2.6 billion who are unbanked and others who are under-served by traditional banking channels. mFino team worked with mobile network operators, financial institutions, malls and retail chains in building an advanced mobile financial services platform that powers one of the largest mobile money deployments today.
mFino M-Commerce Research Team has made deep investments in understanding the current bottle necks, MFS adoption and usage curves. The company focused on optimizing MFS for several years to build a platform that provides enhanced user experience and increased revenue for business partners. mFino offers a comprehensive line of MFS products that increase ARPU, usage and retention. mFino is the world’s first mobile financial services platform that enables the delivery of a full spectrum of financial services to meet the current and future needs of financial institutions, mobile operators, distributors and retailers.
mFino has pioneered the way how cash is handled in emerging economies by creating new models to add intelligence to cash. With its innovative application for users, agents and banks, mFino has become the platform of choice for all mobile money stakeholders in the emerging markets.
MMA: What should delegates expect from mFino during the 2014 Mobile Money Expo?
The mobile financial services industry is still in the growth phase, where there are multiple service providers offering point solutions as well end-to-end solutions. mFino is the world’s first mobile financial services platform that enables the delivery of a full spectrum of financial services to meet the current and future needs of financial institutions, mobile operator, distributor and retailers.mFino MFS platform supports mobile wallets, mobile banking, mobile payments, branchless banking, microfinance, loyalty management and many more.
mFino powers banks, telcos and retailers to enter new market segments and attain considerable market share. mFino research team has made deep investments into the requirements of each market and has developed the most flexible and scalable platform that can meet the challenges of developing markets and also meet the advanced requirements of a matured market. The mFino platform has been fine-tuned based on servicing global customers in developing economies like Nigeria, Indonesia and other countries. The base platform is capable of handling in excess of 2 million transactions on a daily basis ensuring top line revenue growth.