Financial services have been, understandably, slow to enter the social networking space. The success of brands in other sectors is changing that. Leadfusion today released Social Financial Tools, a social-networking app that le

ts customers research and calculate financial information on Facebook, MySpace, iPhone, Windows Live and iGoogle.

The application lets users calculate things like auto financing, credit card rates, or IRAs. It’s a really comprehensive set of tool, both as an advanced finance FAQ and tool suite.

With myriad privacy concerns, social networks can be troubling sites for financial institutions and their customers. As the same time, these sites are among the leading ways to create brand engagement.

"Thanks to the amplifying impact of social media, a single loyal customer can become a powerful advocate," said Bill Pollack, Director of Products and Professional Services at Leadfusion. "By leveraging this multiplier effect of social media spaces, Social Financial Tools help financial institutions build brand awareness and establish advocacy for a large audience of consumers."

You can see some users being hesitant to use an app like Leadfusion’s on a social networking site – do you really want to enter your financial info on something notorious for leaky data? The advantage is that the app’s being part of a social networking platform should lessen resistance for a lot of users. It’s easier to download an app than to go  to a dedicated financial site for this information. And the information provided by Leadfusion is very comprehensive.

Social networking is still largely a zone for fun and promotion. Things like Social Financial Tools represent the next step, integrating social networking with our practical lives. The question ultimately is how practical users want their social computing to be.

By Mark Alvarez