How exactly do financial services impact low income Kenyans? In this note, we extract the stories of eight respondent households from the Financial Diaries. We chose these households as a reflection of key economic trajectories between the end of the original Diaries in late 2013 and the Diaries Update completed in late 2015.
Financial factors are clearly not the only factors at working shaping welfare outcomes, but we do see that they are critically important for opening up opportunities. Rotating savings and credit associations— ROSCAs, also called merry-go-rounds—stand out for their powerful role in accumulating investable savings.
Bank loans and exchanges within the social network are also very important. Formal financial services could be doing more to cover the financial needs of low-income Kenyans both through some traditional kinds of services and by pursuing new kinds of offerings made possible by technology.