When FinFit President and CEO David Kilby was a CPA and auditor working for one of the world’s largest accounting firms, he was responsible for meeting with an organization’s long-time employee, a single mother who’d appropriated thousands of dollars in company funds. The theft was uncharacteristic. The employee had been a responsible and respected team member, but obviously something, somewhere, had gone very wrong.
When Kilby inquired why the money had been stolen, the employee explained that her child had a serious medical condition requiring a series of expensive treatments that her insurance didn’t cover. She had no access to credit and no family members who were in a position to help. She was alone in trying to cope with the situation.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “It’s all been so stressful. I felt there was no other alternative, nowhere to turn. I had to take care of my daughter by whatever means were necessary. Tell me, David, if you were in my position, what would you have done?” Kilby paused for a moment then, to try and imagine himself in her shoes.
“I supposed that if I had been in her position with no access to resources, I might have done the same thing rather than let my child’s health fail,” Kilby recalls. “There are good employees out there on every level living paycheck to paycheck. They’re struggling financially, having to make difficult choices—it’s like there’s a dark cloud of stress and worry hovering over them on a daily basis which means they’re not focused on their job, they’re not focused on productivity.”
“This employee was willing to face jail time to get her daughter the treatments she needed,” Kilby explains. “But what if as employers we had the opportunity to embrace our team members, letting them know that when ‘life happens’ we’re going to be there for them as much as we possibly can. What if we could build a tool that companies could use to help their employees alleviate financial stressors around major life events? A well-designed solution would have a positive impact on productivity, on employee retention and to the growth of the organization as a whole.”
FinFit was born from that encounter. Since its founding in 2008, it has become the largest, oldest and most comprehensive financial wellness solution in the United States, helping employees track spending, save wisely, borrow prudently, identify trends and plan for their financial futures. The company is headquartered in Virginia Beach.
The FinFit solution is a mobile-friendly platform built around three key concepts: to leverage employer/employee relationships to support financial wellness and increase financial literacy; to interact with technologies and systems, integrating with payroll services and HR information so that every employee has access to tailored financial resources based upon sets of predictive data; and to develop solutions that would provide liquidity options and financial coaching so that no employee has to go it alone.
Banking can also be problematic for some employees: inability to meet minimum balance requirements, lack of convenient access to a branch, computer illiteracy or a poor credit history. Charles Lattimer, FinFit’s chief wellness officer, describes how FinFit’s end-to-end financial wellness solution addresses employee banking needs.
“Fifty million Americans are either unbanked, underbanked or unfairly banked,” Lattimer says. “Low credit scores can place people in a position where the tangle of high interest rates and fees can become traps over time. FinFit makes sure that employees have access to a fair banking environment so they don’t have to go to Wal-Mart to cash a check, so they don’t dig themselves into debt and so they can participate in the modern financial environment.”
For employees, the FinFit interface and customized real-time financial dashboard is specifically designed to be easy and satisfying to use. It motivates employees and contains elements that reward positive behaviors along an individual’s financial journey. Employees who choose to securely link financial accounts to the FinFit platform can take advantage of enhanced personalization via an account aggregator that helps them reach benchmarks, create personalized budgets and view all their accounts in one place.
On the employer side, organizations partnering with FinFit report advances in employee retention and substantial upticks in both team member productivity and job satisfaction, all of which translate into significant organizational cost savings. FinFit is growing, with over 185,000 clients and partners who’ve implemented the FinFit platform and approach to employee fiscal fitness, and some health organizations are finding ways to utilize FinFit with the populations they serve.
Most recently, Optima Health, provider of health insurance coverage to more than 560,000 individuals in Virginia, partnered with FinFit to provide financial wellness services to help financially stabilize vulnerable communities, understanding that not all health outcomes can be addressed by health care alone. With access to proprietary, transaction-level data provided by FinFit, the team at Optima Health will have daily, weekly and monthly snapshots of a variety of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) analytics from which they can refine outreach programs and address the immediate needs of their Medicaid members.
“The old school operational model for employers was to stay out of an employee’s personal finances unless it was to deliver a paycheck or provide traditional benefits,” Kilby explains. “But there’s a change happening, a shift in attitudes. There’s a growing recognition that neglecting an employee’s financial health can have direct, negative impacts on the entire organization. Employers and HR managers are realizing the value of providing their team members with customized financial tools and timely interventions so they can better adapt to life changes and be positioned to weather financial storms. At FinFit, we’re proud to play a direct role in providing the solutions they need to support their employees and remain competitive.”