More than half of Colombia’s population (61%) doesn’t have an account with a financial institution. Simply put, most Colombians don’t have access to financial instruments or services that would allow them to plan their retirement, pay for children’s education or invest in a new company.
The country is looking to expand financial access to more Colombians, and provide information on financial services that is easy to access and understand.
To devise methods and tools to improve this situation, 14 teams of Colombian programmers spent a weekend in Bogotá at the Hackathon Fincluimos, which was sponsored by the Banca de Oportunidades, the World Bank, the Swiss Cooperation Office, and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
The winners of this competition for programmers were announced this week.
The Six Degrees IT team developed the Incluirtec application, winning the challenge to facilitate access to information for potential users of financial services.
Easy loans for farmers
“IncluirTec was created out of the search for a technology solution that would allow financial institutions to simplify the loan approval process for rural populations,” said Angélica Acosta, a member of the Six Degrees IT team.
This is achieved “through the collection and processing of information on the productive activities and economic circumstances of small farmers,” she adds.
The “app” works like this: a technical adviser visits the farmer and collects information, which is analyzed using the app. The financial institution can monitor and evaluate the possibility of granting a loan. The app also functions as a contact point between the user and the bank.
Acosta notes that this app helps analyze consumer information, taking into account rural market conditions.
Financial information for everyone
The Coachfin application, developed by the Netmasters group, won the challenge to provide financial services information to Colombians, using georeferencing tools.
“It is a financial decision-making tool that seeks to inform and empower the financial consumer,” explains Javier Díaz, a member of the Netmasters group. “The goal is to eliminate the barriers to information and the distrust existing between consumers and financial institutions.”
The application uses three methods to provide information on financial products found in a given region:
- the use of charts that allow the user to identify the product that best suits his or her needs
- simple language that makes it easy to understand products
- a social network system where people can recommend financial products based on previous experience
The two winning teams will receive specialized support over a six-week period to help them launch their product on the market.
The winning teams were selected by an evaluation committee composed of representatives from the private sector, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the Banca de Oportunidades, Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies, the World Bank, as well as technology experts.