How banks and credit unions can counter bad advice from ‘finfluencers’

Social media users with large and active groups of followers, financial ifluencers, or "finfluencers," publish financial advice via video, podcasts, blogs and more. The trouble is that advice can be ambiguous, misleading — and sometimes flat-out wrong. Banks and credit unions must explore the possible ramifications for consumers who act on poor finfluencer advice and offer counter advice banks and credit unions can work into their financial literacy strategies.

Advancing financial literacy and financial wellness through education has gotten much more difficult for banks and credit unions thanks to the rise of the so-called ‘finfluencer’ community. As social media users with large and active followings, these financial influencers publish financial advice on nearly every online platform that exists.

In the right hands, such expansive consumer reach and influence could have a positive impact on global financial well-being. This may be especially true for younger generations who tend to seek advice online regarding everything from mental health (66% of 18–29-year-olds) to investing (57% of 18–29-year-olds).

The trouble is finfluencer advice can be ambiguous, misleading — and sometimes, flat-out wrong.

Even so, knowledge-seeking consumers want to hear what these purported experts have to say. Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) Millennial and Gen Z Americans said they’ve gotten financial advice from social media, and 62% felt empowered by that advice. Helping consumers feel more in financial control is a goal finfluencers and financial institutions may share, but the latter have greater obligations to ensure their financial education is sound.


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