Innovative Responses Adopted By Equity Bank Ltd To Sustain Competitive Advantage In Agency Banking
The practice of agency banking is a new wave of development in the banking sector. Consumers are always cautious towards new practices behaviors. Agency practices have had their share of challenges ranging from fear of customer confidence, insecurity of funds enlisted at agency levels and poor infrastructural facilities. The study was to establish the innovative responses adopted by Equity Bank Limited to sustain competitive advantage in agency banking practices in the local industry. The adoption of agency banking practices, Hall (2004) identifies the characteristics of promulgated by Rogers (1980) the degree to which an innovation if perceived to offer superior advantages to one preceding it. The current banking practices in Kenya are quite educationary and taking new diverse directions, online banking, agency banking practices, mobile money and insurance services. Agency banking is evidently coming up as a very strong alternative banking and channel. Banks effort to degitalize and offer branchless banking is a way forward towards the future. Agency banking practices needs be perceived positively if the intended goal of the practice is to be attained . The study gathered the following information as summarized here under. The response rate was very good 71% the individual demographics indicate a well-educated work force within the bank structure, quite experienced and highly motivated in terms of work assignment. The findings indicated that the banks have been in to create differential competitive advantage. The study also enlisted the various strategies utilized by banks to improve service delivery through use of physical intermediaries and electronic intermediaries. Challenges were also outlined through use of brokers and agents to deliver banks services especially the agency banking practices. v The study also touched ion issue of consumer complaint management and customer response to service failures, The study makes the following recommendations; that need to strengthen the ICT levels at the agency operated units to make the units viable and competitive. There is also need to upgrade the various services offered at agency level to closely reflect the bank standards. The study also recommends urgent training among agency staff, introduce academic qualifications for the agency personnel to improve their operational performance. There is need to educate the challenges associated with use of intermediaries and strengthen the orger level of intermediary which use eenabled technology. Complaint management practices need also be improved and customer feedback channels enhanced, so that it becomes easy to understand the customer. Finally the study recommends the improvement of service productivity levels in all the agency levels.
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