Optimizing Performance Through Improved Cross(X) – sell (OPTIX)

The OPTIX program, implemented by SAJIDA Foundation from February 2015 is a special 3 year project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) with funding from the MetLife Foundation and is managed by Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA). This program allows the organization to streamline services meeting specific needs of their market segments, improve client retention through value-added services and secure the organisation’s share against larger competition. Evidence from data analytics, business case analysis and client and staff research have allowed the program to identify three cross-sell strategies:

  • Mainstream mobile money based loan and savings services
  • Design and implement a Financial Advisory Services (FAS) Tool
  • Offer a goal-oriented term deposit product

The organization entered into an arrangement with mobile money company bKash in order to disburse loans, collect installment payments and mobilize savings. The first phase of the program, which saw the disbursement of 186 loans, successfully launched digital loans and savings services in 5 branches with plans of expanding eventually to 15 branches and this has been deemed as a cost and time effective service for both clients and the organization. As it was tricky for clients to find agents who would open bKash accounts for them, 15 branches of SAJIDA Foundation have been licensed to become bKash agents for their benefit.

The Financial Advisory Services (FAS) tool and goal-oriented savings approaches have been turned into user-friendly mobile applications and are now being implemented in 5 branches. This app allows SAJIDA Staff to access relevant information on clients, helps Field Officers to better advise them on loan amounts and can even provide information to clients about their optimum savings rates using a built-in simulator.

The results of the pilot phase show that there was an average of 21 Astha Savings Accounts opened in all branches, with the 5 pilot branches showing an average of 39 per branch. Therefore, there has been an increase in account openings of 97% resulting in 59% more savings, in comparison with non-bKash scenarios. While the pilot branches showed an average of BDT 9,078 average Astha savings balance for all branches amounted to BDT 7,466.

The OPTIX programme has identified two more pathways in order to further its work in cross-sell which was launched in March 2017. These include:

  1. Remittance using formal channels
    Taking into consideration the gaps in services dealing with remittance from migrant workers, the OPTIX programme has developed a complete service in 10 branches to fill this void. Apart from providing migration loans for the migrant worker, the service has been enhanced to include financial planning prior to departure, creating accounts in formal institutions through which they can send money, savings plans for when they’re abroad and finally a consultancy for when they return. The earnings of the worker are used for three purposes – paying loan installments, sending allowances back home to family and saving the balance for further investment.
  2. Improving efficacy of microenterprise loan disbursements
    Existing paper based microenterprise loans are inefficient, used in a subpar manner and puts undue pressure on borrowers and Credit Officers. In order to reduce the fallacies associated with this system, a paperless mobile application based due diligence process has been developed. This process aligns unstructured information and allows for the organization to develop funding plans as per the needs of the members. This initiative will be piloted in 10 branches.