Female client consulting with a agent in the office

Trust & Inclusive Language in the Finance Sector

Articles Aug 18, 2022

The financial services sector remains one of the least trusted industries in the United States, according to the 2022 Financial Services edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer. Although trust in the finance industry has risen slightly over the past year, it remains near the bottom of the pack with only 56% of people saying they trust their financial institutions.

The financial industry as a whole has impeded its success with irresponsible behavior from subprime lenders that led to the Great Recession, scandals like the widespread credit fraud at Wells Fargo, and a history of racialized lending practices. It’s also not helpful when, in their day-to-day interactions, customers are treated as transactions or, even worse, treated differently because of the size of their bank accounts or fluency with the finance sector.

To combat this reputational issue, finance professionals should intentionally build a foundation of trust with customers by treating them with respect and professionalism. At the most fundamental level, financial customers are looking for advisers to build meaningful relationships that demonstrate an elevated level of care, authenticity, and integrity. A personalized, compassionate experience can make all the difference. Yet, we often see a lack of diversity and inclusion in financial institutions – a disconnect that sows the seeds of mistrust.

Put simply, finance sector leaders must be intentional about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a business strategy in order to foster a positive company culture that builds trust with both employees and customers.


Andy Elliott DeRoin

Andy (they/them) is a Certified Diversity Executive and project manager for Products at The Diversity Movement to help innovate and grow product-related activities.