The current information system used by the credit department of all 311 farmers' and fishermen's associations (FFA) is operating under 5 sharing centers and 4 private information operation offices set up by farmers' associations. Through 55 credit departments of the FFA under its jurisdiction, the Northern Farmers' Association Information Center’s Committee has integrated into the FFA Credit Department Information Sharing System on February 15, 2017, and signed the letter of intent with the Agricultural Bank of Taiwan at the New Taipei City Farmers' Association Building on April 13. The Council of Agriculture (COA) Chief Secretary Hu Jong-i presided the signing ceremony where he and key figures including Agricultural Bank of Taiwan chairman Chen Chao-hui, New Taipei City Farmer Association Executive Secretary Yang Dong-liang, and 55 FFA executive secretaries under Northern Farmers' Association Information Center declared their joint full support to the information technology integration policy for farmers' and fishermen's associations. The COA pointed out that information security is the foundation for safe financial information system operation, and the new sharing system is going to gradually introduce information safety management system, impartial third party audit mechanism, FFA credit department money laundering prevention system, internal and external firewall, among others to enhance the information security for FFA’s credit department.
Increase the overall agricultural finance operation efficiency projected to reach 50.8% conversion rate by the end of 2017
The COA stated that in order to expedite FFA’s information integration process, the Council had persuaded the Central and Northern Farmers' Association Information Centers as well as farmers' associations in Hsichih and Tainan to join the new information system. The objective is to switch 158 credit departments to the new system by the end of December 2017, with a projected conversion rate of 50.8%. In the future, the Council would continue to negotiate with information centers of United Farmers & Fishermen Association, Pan Chiao Farmers' Association, and Farmer's and Fishermen's Association South Information Center to devise the proper schedule for FFA members to switch to the new system.
In order to achieve a compatible system specification for all sharing centers so that in the future it would be possible to carry out withdrawing and saving, integration, and application among centers. Through the new information system, the Agricultural Bank of Taiwan could establish connection with 311 credit departments to build a “head office-branch office” model of operation which would be favorable to the development of new businesses. Furthermore, the system compatibility after the integration means that repetitive investment on information systems and equipment could be avoided, thus effectively cutting down cost while achieving the standardization of operating procedure. After all 311 FFA credit departments complete their transition to the new system, the next step is to integrate the information systems of other departments in the FFA, such as farmers' and fishermen's national health insurance management system, membership management system, HR and payroll management system, fertilizer inventory management system, and fruits and vegetables collective marketing management system. The ultimate goal is to become an information sharing platform of “cash flow”, “logistic flow”, and “information flow” for farmers' and fishermen's associations.
Introduce new businesses accordingly to provide farmers with quality service
Since currently most centers’ systems only offer basic functions such as deposit, loan, remittance, and accounting, the new information system would progressively introduce internet finance and new business services like universal saving and withdrawing, gold passbook, mobile banking, mobile payment, among others in order to increase credit department’s financial service options. Due to the fact that the majority of the credit department’s clients are senior citizens and rural farmers, internet commodities and services are commonly unpopular in these areas. To bridge the gap between rural and urban areas, mobile banking and mobile payment services would be launched so that young farmers and professional farming businesses would be able to enjoy mobile financial services anytime and anywhere. Additionally, after the new information system came into practice, farmers may withdraw money from other association’s credit departments with their debit cards free of service charges, which is one of the many better and more convenient financial services offered to farmers.