Network logic and the stabilization of mobile banking products: a case study of selected mobile banking products in Kenya
Financial inclusion of poor and marginalized populations has been a development agenda for the Kenyan Government for a long time though hampered by two main barriers; access and economic viability. Mobile banking, an ICT based innovation promises to break these two barriers by providing access and also aggregating financial transactions by individuals to constitute viability. Despite this breakthrough, mobile banking products, availed to these populations have not experienced significant success in uptake and use. The aim of this paper is to underscore relationships in mobile banking, in order to establish what ails the relationships and what needs to be done to stabilize these networks for financial inclusion of the poor and marginalized. A multi-case study of three mobile banking products i.e. Equity agent, Coop Kwa Jirani and KCB Mtaani and informed by the Actor Network Theory (ANT) methodology of following actors was undertaken. The research explored the various relationships in agent banking; roles assigned to actors and mitigating strategies for implementation and adoption. Research findings established that the ability of the focal actor to put together actors and create an ecosystem that fosters the relationship is crucial for stability of mobile banking products. Active leadership and deliberate efforts to align roles of recruited actors to the interests of the common product aid in reinforcing coexistence in the network. That notwithstanding, the faithfulness of the key actors to the process is imperative for any network formation effort to be successful.