ByDesign Financial Solutions (dba Consumer Credit Counseling Service) Launches New Web Site for Innovative Personal Finance Services

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The new look, feel and content of the site emphasizes a departure from Â?business as usualÂ? for the non-profit organization which has served California residents with credit counseling and educational services since 1964.

LOS ANGELES (August 26, 2005) — On Monday, August 29, 2005, ByDesign Financial Solutions (doing business as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Los Angeles, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Sacramento, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Mid-Counties and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Valley), will debut its transformed web site at http://www.bydesignsolutions.org.

The new look, feel and content of the site emphasizes a departure from “business as usual” for the non-profit organization which has served California residents with credit counseling and educational services since 1964.

“The entire credit counseling industry has undergone a radical shift in the past five years,” says Peter F. Lake, president and CEO of ByDesign. “First, hundreds of new businesses offering credit counseling emerged, then large numbers of consumers turned to bankruptcy, and, many more used home equity to pay off large amounts of outstanding unsecured debt.”

“In response to changing needs in the marketplace,” Lake added, “ByDesign refashioned its business model to meet changing consumer demand for services such as reverse mortgage counseling, identity theft resolution services and highly-targeted personal finance management education (Spanish-speaking monolingual consumers, high school students, farm workers, etc.) as much as to the traditional core budget counseling service.”

Today, despite the persistent image of the original agency, budget and credit counseling accounts for only 30 percent of the organization's monthly counseling appointments.

This shift away from primarily credit counseling is one reason for the organization's name change in early 2005. ByDesign Financial Solutions reflects the wider array of services now offered. In addition, in early 2004, when four CCCS agencies from across the state merged to pool resources and reach a wider number of California consumers, a multi-regional name became necessary.

ByDesign developed a new logo to match the organization's corporate mission of financial literacy.

"Despite our long-earned solid reputation as a credit counseling agency, we want people to think of us for other financial literacy needs as well. We have developed products and services to meet the needs of teens preparing to leave home for the first time, for seniors needing counseling on whether reverse mortgage is the right solution for them, and everyone in between," explains regional vice president in charge of marketing, Martha Lucey. "Our core mission has not changed, but rather we have expanded our service to meet the need for money management throughout a person's lifetime."

For the first time, consumers from the greater Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton and Fresno areas can log on to ByDesign's site to:

  • Read descriptions of free and low-cost educational workshops;
  • Conveniently, register for workshops on line;
  • Download text for online courses and take quizzes online;
  • Purchase educational materials through our online storefront; and
  • Find answers in the “Frequently Asked Questions” sections of the major areas of the site: Budget and Credit Solutions, Bankruptcy, Identity Theft Solutions, Housing Solutions and Personal Finance Education. Many times these explanations are all a consumer is looking for at the moment.

Lucey says, “We invite financial and consumer reporters to direct their readers or viewers to our site as a one-stop resource for assistance in all stages of their financial life.” Spokespersons for ByDesign, an objective financial resource for the media and consumers for years, are often considered leading financial experts in California. The site will be available in Spanish by year's end.

ByDesign Financial Solutions, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping individuals and families in more than counties in California learn how to prevent and solve financial difficulties. A member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), and established more than 38 years ago, the organization offers personal finance education, confidential individual debt and housing counseling, and debt reduction plans through regional offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton and Fresno. A Housing and Urban Development-approved counseling agency, the group also offers home pre-purchase counseling and education, reverse mortgage counseling, as well as default and foreclosure prevention and intervention. ByDesign is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

For low-cost, confidential debt counseling, by phone or in person, please call (800) 750-2227 or visit the organization on the web at http://www.bydesignsolutions.org.

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