Groups of services delivered by Brazilian branchless banking and respective network integration models
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Over the last decade, Brazil has pioneered an innovative model of branchless banking, known as correspondent banking, involving distribution partnership between banks, several kinds of retailers and a variety of other participants, which have allowed an unprecedented growth in bank outreach and became a reference worldwide. However, despite the extensive number of studies recently developed focusing on Brazilian branchless banking, there exists a clear research gap in the literature. It is still necessary to identify the different business configurations involving network integration through which the branchless banking channel can be structured, as well as the way they relate to the range of bank services delivered. Given this gap, our objective is to investigate the relationship between network integration models and services delivered through the branchless banking channel. Based on twenty interviews with managers involved with the correspondent banking business and data collected on almost 300 correspondent locations, our research is developed in two steps. First, we created a qualitative taxonomy through which we identified three classes of network integration models. Second, we performed a cluster analysis to explain the groups of financial services that fit each model. By contextualizing correspondents' network integration processes through the lens of transaction costs economics, our results suggest that the more suited to deliver social-oriented, 'pro-poor' services the channel is, the more it is controlled by banks. This research offers contributions to managers and policy makers interested in understanding better how different correspondent banking configurations are related with specific portfolios of services. Researchers interested in the subject of branchless banking can also benefit from the taxonomy presented and the transaction costs analysis of this kind of banking channel, which has been adopted in a number of developing countries all over the world now. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.