Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Key Findings from FinFit’s Financial Health Assessment

Introduction 

FinFit’s mission is to eliminate stress in the workplace and improve the financial health of employees by providing solutions that empower them to address their financial situation and guide them down the path to financial stability. FinFit’s financial wellness platform provides personalized recommendations and solutions based on each employee’s unique financial needs. FinFit conducts regular financial assessments of its member base and through a series of questions, the company is able to understand how its members are spending, saving, borrowing and planning. Periodically, the member assessment data is compiled into a collective report. This research paper highlights some of the key learnings from FinFit’s most recent assessment results, providing unique insights into the financial health of 30,000+ members.

Defining & Measuring Financial Health

Core to FinFit’s philosophy is the belief that you need to accurately diagnose the financial health of individuals before you can improve their circumstances through behavioral change. It is why every FinFit member begins their journey with a financial health assessment. But what does ‘financial health’ mean and how do you measure it?

Financial health is an individual’s ability to have a day-to-day financial system that helps them be resilient and pursue opportunities. This includes the ability to spend, save, borrow, and plan. 

spend, save, borrow, and plan

FinFit leverages Financial Health Network’s FinHealth Score™ to diagnose, track, and ultimately improve the financial health of its members. The FinHealth Score™ is based on eight survey questions that align with eight indicators of financial health (see diagram below). For every individual who responds to all eight questions, one aggregate score is calculated and individuals are grouped into three main categories:

Individuals are spending, saving, borrowing, and planning in a way that will allow them to be resilient and pursue opportunities over time. Individuals are struggling with some, but not necessarily all aspects of their financial lives. Individuals are struggling with all, or nearly all aspects of their financial lives.

Spend less than income 2. Pay bills on time and in full 3. Have sufficient liquid savings 4. Have sufficient long-term savings 5. Have a sustainable debt load 6. Have a prime credit score 7. Have appropriate insurance 8. Plan ahead for expenses

Defining & Measuring Financial Health: Key Findings

From June 2018 – June 2019, FinFit collected and analyzed the responses from its financial health assessments to understand how their members are spending, saving, borrowing and planning, what their financial goals are and how they are feeling about the state of their finances overall. This data includes responses from 30,000+ FinFit members and represents a wide range of people across the United States: industries range from Manufacturing, Health Care, Education, Finance and Insurance, Real Estate, Transportation; ages range from 18 – 65+; annual incomes range from $10,000 – $300,000+.

Three Headline Numbers

Based on FinFit’s analysis and utilizing the Financial Health Network’s survey methodology highlighted above:

28% of FinFit users are Healthy
(Nationally: 28% or 70 million people)
62% of FinFit users are Coping
(Nationally: 55% or 138 million people)
10% of FinFit users are Vulnerable
(Nationally: 17% or 42 million people)

National comparisons were taken from the “U.S. Financial Health Pulse,” a nationally representative survey conducted by the Financial Health Network that provides an ongoing snapshot of how Americans are managing their finances. The following section breaks down these headline numbers, providing data spotlights that illustrate how FinFit users are managing their money day-to-day and planning for the future, and how this differs depending on what financial health category they’re in (healthy, coping or vulnerable).

Defining & Measuring Financial Health: Spending & Borrowing Data Spotlight

One of the questions FinFit asks its members is if, over the last 12 months, their spending was more, less or about equal to their income. This provides a base level understanding for how individuals are managing their finances and what their cash flow looks like.

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

48% of FinFit members reported that they spend equal to or more than their income. This is on par with the national comparison – 47% of all Americans.

Why This Matters

When spending exceeds income, Americans overwhelmingly turn to credit to make ends meet. From the U.S. Financial Health Pulse2, we know that among respondents who said their spending exceeded their income in the last 12 months, 43% said they used credit to make ends meet and 10% said they drew upon non-retirement savings.

The relationship between spending more than income and relying on debt to make up the difference maps with what we found in FinFit’s assessment results. When members were asked about their monthly debt load:

of all members responded that they do not have debt. 50% of the healthy population fall in this category 17% of the coping population fall in this category 3% of the vulnerable population fall in this category of all members have a bit too much debt. 1% of the healthy population fall in this category 20% of the coping population fall in this category 49% of the vulnerable population fall in this category of all members have a manageable amount of debt. 49% of the healthy population fall in this category 58% of the coping population fall in this category 13% of the vulnerable population fall in this category of all members have far too much debt. 0% of the healthy population fall in this category 5% of the coping population fall in this category 35% of the vulnerable population fall in this category

It is clear from analyzing FinFit data that those who are coping and vulnerable are spending more than their income and are relying on debt to manage their finances (especially compared to those who are healthy). This reliance on debt can often lead individuals to fall into debt traps, which makes it difficult to regain balance and control of one’s finances. Additionally, it is the main reason individuals give in the U.S. Financial Health Pulse research for why they are unable to save for retirement. Therefore, the link between unhealthy spending behaviors and unmanageable debt loads is highly correlated and can often prevent people from planning – and saving – for the future.

Additional findings from FinFit’s assessment results demonstrate the issue is largely behavioral, not solely a matter of resources:

31% of the vulnerable participants make over $50,000 per year
27% of the vulnerable participants are over the age of 45
88% of the vulnerable participants recognize they have too much debt
38% of the vulnerable participants believe their most important financial goal in the next 12 months is to take a vacation

Defining & Measuring Financial Health: Saving & Planning Data Spotlight

While spending, borrowing, and planning are three of the four pillars FinFit uses to assess a person’s financial health, the final pillar – saving – is the one most people struggle with day-to-day. Therefore, the second data spotlight focuses on short-term savings habits.

“My savings could not cover 3 months living expenses if I lost my main source of income.”

40% of FinFit members reported that they have less than 3 months saved, compared to the national average of 45%.

40% of FinFit members reported that they have less than 3 months saved, compared to the national average of 45%.

Why This Matters

The importance of short-term savings on an individual’s overall financial health cannot be overstated. It is often the unplanned medical bill, car breakdown, or urgent roof repair that drives the decision to take out a high-interest loan, turn to a payday lender, take money from long-term savings accounts (college or retirement) or fall further into credit card debt.

In addition, we know from the U.S. Financial Health Pulse that low savings balances obscure the fact that many Americans are saving when they can:

Financial Health & Behavioral Change: of respondents with savings accounts said they are saving regularly or whenever possible. of those who report cash savings are adding to those savings regularly or whenever possible. of those with savings in other vehicles (mutual funds, money market accounts, stocks, CDs, annuities) are saving regularly or whenever possible.

Based on the FinFit assessment results, an overwhelming majority of members identified the following as their top financial goals over the next 12 months:

28% want to set up an emergency fund 

26% want to pay down credit card debt 

20% want to save for a down payment 

16% want to pay down short-term debt 

13% want to set up an investment account 

12% want to pay down student debt

There is a clear need for additional support to help those who are saving where possible but desire to increase their savings and pay down debt. There is an even greater opportunity to educate and assist those individuals who are not currently saving, helping them to build an emergency financial cushion.

Financial Health & Behavioral Change: Case Studies

The final section of this report illustrates, via three detailed case studies, how FinFit uses the assessment data to provide personalized roadmaps and recommendations to members based on their unique financial needs and goals.

When Amanda joined FinFit, her assessment indicated that she was spending far more than her income, paid very few bills on time, and she only planned ahead occasionally. She had an uncomfortable amount of credit card debt and after helping her children fund their educations, she had just under $200,000 in outstanding student loan debt. From the outside, it may appear as though Amanda’s salary should be sufficient to enable her to pay off debt and save for a down payment on a home. Just because an individual has a healthy income, it doesn’t mean their financial health follows suit. 

On June 4, 2018, Amanda came to FinFit in a vulnerable state of financial health. But she took the first step – she asked for help. She identified her personal financial goals of paying down credit card debt, paying down student loan debt and purchasing a home. FinFit presented Amanda with her personalized roadmap with recommendations and resources to help her manage her current financial challenges, as well as a plan to set her up for future success. 

Amanda utilized FinFit’s financial solutions over the next few months to get back on track, including the student loan services. She took advantage of the many financial education courses in Ready University, specifically focusing on purchasing a home. She completed 13 courses including ‘Is It Better to Rent or Buy?,’ ‘Financing Basics For First-Time Homebuyers,’ ‘How to Finance Your New Home,’ ‘What To Expect At A Mortgage Closing,’ and ‘Compare Mortgage Rates.’ With a home purchase in sight, she used FinFit’s budget calculators to gain insight into what she could afford. She utilized the ‘Mortgage Calculator’ and ‘Closing Cost Calculator’ so she would be empowered to make an informed financial decision on this important investment. 

Amanda retook the FinFit assessment on January 4, 2019, six months after joining FinFit. She reported that she now pays all her bills on time and has a manageable amount of debt. She is spending much less than her income and now owns her first home. She reported that she is very confident in her ability to plan, and she always plans ahead to cover upcoming expenses.

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Jake Age: 25 - 34 Marital Status: Single Education: High School Salary: $25,000 - $34,999 Children: none Joined FinFit: June 21, 2018 Financial goals over the next 12 months: Home repairs; pay down short-term debt Financial Health Status: Vulnerable

Jake joined FinFit on June 21, 2018. His assessment indicated that he had a small amount of debt and was spending a little more than his income. He was not very confident in his ability to plan and he was not able to pay his bills on time. His credit score was poor. He also reported that he had more than 6 months saved in case of emergency, with $50,000-$74,999 in total savings and retirement. Based on his financial assessment, Jake could benefit from creating and sticking to a budget. He needs help identifying ways to be smarter about how he is spending and investing his money based on his current financial situation and life stage. 

On June 21, 2018, Jake came to FinFit in a vulnerable state of financial health. He was not aware that with some education and guidance, he had the opportunity to change course and create a plan to achieve his goals. Jake was starting early, recognizing that he did not want to continue down the same path. Through the financial assessment, Jake identified 12-month goals of paying down short-term debt and affording home repairs. FinFit presented Jake with his personalized roadmap, focused on budgeting and money management. 

Jake took advantage of FinFit’s MoneyView Dashboard where he was able to link his accounts and track exactly where his money was going. He could easily see where he was overspending, and where he had the opportunity to redirect his cashflow. He used FinFit’s financial solutions to help as he figured out how to better manage his money. He used MoneyView to create a budget, set bill pay alerts and monitor his daily progress. He retook the FinFit assessment on September 22, 2018, and his financial health status had improved to coping. 

Encouraged to see he was making progress, Jake used FinFit’s budget calculators to assess his retirement contributions and identify how he could better appropriate his money to achieve his long-term goals. He took a few courses in Ready University like ‘Debit vs. Credit,’ ‘Checking Account Basics,’ and ‘Investment Options.’ He was able to adjust his MoneyView budget as he gained insight into his spending and saving habits. 

Jake took the FinFit assessment for the third time on January 20, 2019, six months after joining FinFit. He reported that he spends much less than his income and is paying all his bills on time. He reported that his credit score has improved to ‘fair’ and he is moderately confident in his ability to plan.

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Monica Age: 35 - 44 Marital Status: Married Education: High School Salary: $50,000 - $74,999 Children: none Joined FinFit: October 2, 2018 Financial goals over the next 12 months: File her own taxes, set up an emergency fund, pay down credit card debt, purchase a vehicle, set up an investment account Financial Health Status: Vulnerable

When Monica joined FinFit, her assessment indicated that she was not at all confident that she would have enough money to support her long-term financial goals. She had less than $10,000 saved for retirement. She did not plan ahead, and she was only slightly confident about her ability to save. She reported that she spends much less than her income and pays all her bills on time. 

On October 2, 2018, Monica came to FinFit in a vulnerable state of financial health. The personal financial goals she identified revolved around creating savings accounts, both short-term and long-term, paying down credit card debt, and saving money. FinFit presented Monica with her personalized roadmap, focused on recommendations and solutions that would help her create savings and plan for her future. 

Monica took full advantage of the Ready University educational courses. She built her knowledge around topics like ‘Why you should consider working in retirement,’ ‘13 factors when choosing a place to retire,’ ‘Visualize the retirement you desire,’ and ‘How do you want to spend your retirement years?’ She used FinFit’s MoneyView Dashboard to keep track of her investments and see all her accounts in one place. By linking her accounts, she can track her net worth and follow her month-to-month progress to make sure she is moving in the right direction. 

Monica also participates in FinFit IQ, the weekly live trivia game available to all FinFit members. She plays consistently and generally answers most of the questions correctly – she averages 8-10 correct answers, and she recently won a game in May with 12 correct answers. Monica continues to improve her knowledge through Ready University courses, and she’s testing her progress in the weekly trivia games.

Monica retook the FinFit assessment on May 14, 2019, seven months after joining FinFit. She reported that she now feels very confident in her ability to save and she is very confident that she is on track to have enough money to achieve her long-term financial goals. She now contributes 4%-6.9% into her retirement account on a monthly basis, and she is putting 2% of her monthly income into an emergency fund.

Financial Health & Behavioral Change

Conclusion 

The first step to improving an individual’s financial health is to accurately identify and assess their financial situation. It is critical to pair this analysis with tailored solutions and actionable steps to guide the individual down the path towards financial stability and motivate them to change their behavior.

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Kristen Stringer

Vice President of Banking & Credit Services

Kristen Stringer came to FinFit in 2010 and has been instrumental in the development of the proprietary FinFit systems and processes. Kristen served as FinFit’s Director of Operations for 7 years before being promoted to Vice President of Banking and Credit Services. She is responsible for managing strategic partners including the Celtic Bank and Ares credit relationships, in addition to establishing new relationships in the sponsor bank market. Kristen also oversees the underwriting and credit areas and is involved with development of underwriting models and new credit products, expansion of credit offerings, auditing and compliance, and the overall performance of credit products.

Kristen holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in finance, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Old Dominion University. She began her career at HSBC Bank in the customer service and collections departments and later was responsible for process improvement and project management. She was selected to lead numerous special projects including a foreclosure avoidance project that liquidated over $2 million dollars in less than three months. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys photography and is an avid sports fan.

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David Kilby

President/CEO

David Kilby has been President/CEO of FinFit since its founding in 2008. He has grown the company from a single idea into the nation’s largest, most comprehensive Financial Wellness Benefit platform. Chosen as one of the top 100 companies to work for three years in a row (2014-16), FinFit pursues a mission of changing employees lives one employee at a time. Prior to FinFit, David led a multi-million-dollar financial institution holding company, where he was inspired to find a way to help employees get more financially fit. At KPMG Peat Marwick, Norfolk, Virginia, he worked with a variety of public and private organizations in a variety of industries including automotive, chemical manufacturing, consumer finance, managed health care, retail, real estate and wholesale organizations.

David received his CPA designation in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1991 and graduated from Old Dominion University. Today he serves as the President of the Ability Center of Virginia, a charity devoted to helping children and adults with disabilities serve productive lives. He is also an active member with the Young Presidents Organization, an active Board Member of Old Dominion University Business School, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Jennifer Creech

Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Jennifer Creech brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to FinFit. Jennifer is accountable for the overall sales initiatives, client acquisition and strategic relationships. She is also responsible for client retention strategies and the development and management of sales agents.

Jennifer previously served as VP/Director of Marketing at Bank of Hampton Roads/Hampton Roads Bankshares, Inc. As an officer of the bank, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the bank’s sales and marketing programs and was a member of the Retail Leadership Committee to expand the retail banking division.

Jennifer is currently the President of It’s A Surprise and offers support to various community charities.

Kristen Gaskins

Director of Client Engagement and Awareness

Kristen Gaskins brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to her role as Director of Client Engagement and Awareness. She leads a dynamic team of onboarding specialists whose focus is ensuring employers understand the benefits of FinFit and are ready to roll it out to their employees. She works closely with the FinFit marketing department to craft and measure the omnichannel onboarding experience, working to retain and engage existing partners, clients and employees.

She’s a Virginia Beach native who enjoys travel and cooking, just not at the same time.

Cliff Kiel

Senior Vice President, Sales

Cliff Kiel brings almost thirty years of industry experience to the sales team. He joined the company in 2017 to oversee new revenue channels for the business. Cliff is based in Atlanta, Georgia, overseeing sales and business-to-business prospect marketing. Cliff leads the broker and employer growth strategies for the company.

Prior to his tenure with FinFit, Cliff served four years with Purchasing Power as Vice President, and General Sales Manager. He was instrumental in onboarding many Fortune 100 clients. Under his tenure leading the sales team, the company's revenue doubled and he recorded record sales years for the organization. Prior to Purchasing Power, Cliff worked for leading health and welfare companies such as MetLife, United HealthCare, CVS Caremark, Cigna, Value Options, and Alere.

He earned his BA degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and his Certificate in Healthcare Management from the State University California, Irvine.

Cliff has been a featured speaker at the annual Voluntary Benefits Conference and many other leading conferences.

Paul Grosch

Chief Technology Officer

Paul Grosch is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience growing business through software development, infrastructure management, data analytics and customer support. He brings a wealth of experience with strengths in areas such as technology process standardization, measurement and disciplined innovation. Paul has worked across a broad spectrum of industries including construction, retail, hospitality, financial services and Department of Defense.

Paul joined the FinFit team in Q3 2018. Prior to joining FinFit, Paul served as the Vice President of Information Technology for Gold Key Hotels and Resorts, the largest and most demanding hospitality developer, owner and operator in the Mid-Atlantic. Paul led the technology team through a series of rapid growth, innovation and exit cycles. This included the $168MM sale of Gold Key Resorts in and recent sale of oceanfront Hilton properties valued over $87MM. Paul has also led state of the art development projects within Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense.

Paul Grosch obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science in Computer Science from Old Dominion University. He holds an MBA from University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified IT Service Management Expert (ITIL).

Pete Ostberg

Chief Operating Officer

Pete Ostberg joined FinFit in 2017 after spending 20 years in the payroll industry. Pete is responsible for overseeing all business operations, ensuring FinFit has effective operational procedures in place. He also conducts market research and analyses to strengthen FinFit’s product portfolio by adding new and exciting offerings to help employees become more financially stable. Pete is focused on growing the number of valued partners and ensuring the successful implementation of FinFit with each one.

Prior to FinFit, Pete worked at Paychex in a variety of roles. He has in-depth knowledge of tax payments, payroll, insurance, operations, business analysis, and product management. During his tenure there, he helped to strategically position new products as they were brought to the market. Pete has a degree in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and traveling.

David Hockstad

Senior Data & Financial Analyst

David Hockstad came to FinFit in 2015 and has led the development of FinFit’s custom underwriting algorithms and employee assessment questionnaire. As Senior Data and Financial Analyst, David is responsible for identifying portfolio trends and KPIs, implementing business intelligence tools, creating visual ad hoc reports, and enhancing predictive modeling capabilities. David also assists various departments in finding actionable insights in their data, be it understanding successful company demographics, employee contact methods, or customer propensity to borrow.

David obtained his Bachelor’s from Lee University. After graduating in 2012, he began his career at PNC Bank as a commercial underwriter where he was responsible for optimizing business cashflow and underwriting loans.

Kim Miller

Director of Marketing

Kim Miller joined FinFit in early 2018 to build their marketing department, re-energize the brand and establish FinFit as the industry expert. She is an experienced marketing director with a demonstrated history of developing brand identities, increasing brand awareness and creating optimal customer experiences. Skilled in strategic product development, content creation, user experience, cross-channel marketing and customer engagement, she is passionate about moving the business forward and establishing FinFit as the industry leader.

She started her career at Brunner, a national advertising agency, helping to create a digital footprint in the emerging space. She supported a variety of brands including Consol Energy, Cub Cadet, Longhorn, Aquafresh, WesBanco and Huffy, and worked in every discipline from project and account management to copywriting to site architecture.

She moved to Virginia in 2010 and joined Dominion Enterprises, working in the marine, automotive and powersports divisions during her tenure. She helped build and grow their marketing departments, create brand identities, develop sales processes and tracking capabilities, and drive the product development for both B2B and B2C audiences.

Bill Hall

Chief Compliance Officer

Bill Hall serves as Compliance Officer for FinFit and is responsible for identifying, assessing, mitigating and monitoring all legal, regulatory, operational and reputational risks for the company.

Bill brings extensive legal and regulatory compliance experience to FinFit, primarily in the financial services industry. After beginning his legal career as an Associate Attorney with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice in Winston-Salem, NC, Bill had a 19-year career in the Law Department at United Guaranty Corporation in Greensboro, NC. At United Guaranty, Bill served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, as well as International Group General Counsel.

Bill earned a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Davidson College and a J.D. degree, with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Bill is licensed as an attorney in the state of North Carolina.

Brooke Saunders

Director of Human Resources

Brooke joined FinFit in early 2013 and focuses on key areas such as Talent Management, Employee Development and Training, Benefits, Payroll and Compensation, Business Strategy, Employee Relations and developing programs to increase employee engagement.

Brooke is a graduate of Old Dominion University and started her Human Resources Career at Robert Half International as a Staffing Manager in 2002. She worked there for 3 years and recruited, hired, interviewed, and placed administrative workers into office positions for her clients.

Brooke has years of experience in the hospitality field, where she served as both Human Resources Director and Resort Marketing Recruiter for large organizations such as Gold Key Resorts and LTD Limited. Her skills included the development of effective recruiting programs, handling all associate relations and counseling, tracking all worker’s compensation claims and other various HR functions to support the HR Manager.

Matt Fahy

Chief Financial Officer

Matthew Fahy serves as Chief Financial Officer for FinFit, with responsibility for the overall financial management of the company, including accounting, financial planning and analysis, credit and treasury functions and tax.

Matt brings extensive financial and operations management experience to FinFit, primarily in the technology industry. Before joining FinFit, Matt served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Global Services for AgilQuest Corporation, a Workplace Management Enterprise SaaS company. Prior to that, he served as CFO for Public Access Technologies, Inc. and QualityClick.com Inc. and oversaw the rapid growth of these Internet companies. Matt was also a Senior Manager for KPMG in the Information, Communications and Entertainment practice serving public and private media, entertainment and technology clients. Matt began his accounting career with Paul Scherer & Company, a boutique CPA firm in New York City serving Advanced Publications and Newhouse Broadcasting Corp., the largest privately held media company in the world.

Matt is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Accounting & MIS. Matt received his CPA designation from the state of Ohio in 1993.

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