New Report Seeks Transparency For Debt Relief Industry

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Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. defines performance metrics, launches "Transparency Project” to empower consumers and educate policymakers.

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Our profession needs to embrace the concept of openness, not avoid it. This type of transparency will act as a powerful toolkit for consumers seeking debt relief solutions.

Cambridge Credit Counseling today released its Debt Relief Performance Report, the first in a series of disclosures that will serve as the centerpiece of a new multi-faceted consumer education and public affairs initiative. The report is the first step in the agency’s “Transparency Project,” a campaign to empower consumers, create an industry standard for reporting client performance data, and educate policymakers about the value consumers receive through debt relief programs.

“I’ve spoken with legislators, regulators and consumer groups, and many of them are confused about the debt relief industry," noted Christopher Viale, Cambridge's President and CEO. "They’re confused for good reason. The data substantiating customer value has been largely unavailable to help people understand what we do, why our programs are necessary, and how consumers benefit. The Transparency Project is Cambridge’s way of answering those questions.”    

The majority of Cambridge’s Debt Relief Performance Report results were derived from data collected in 2010. Program completion data, which tracks clients who complete their plans or who leave early for various reasons, was compiled over the past several years. The report’s extensive data collection procedures were conducted in keeping with the agency’s ISO process. ISO 9001:2008 is an international quality standard that requires an organization to continually improve its processes to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Cambridge’s report (http://www.cambridge-credit.org/transparency.html) defines a variety of key measures that collectively enable consumers to gauge the typical results of working with the agency:

  • At the conclusion of a comprehensive counseling session, Cambridge recommended a debt management plan (DMP) to 34% of consumers (23% of consumers enrolled) – 2010
  • 94.87% of all Cambridge clients who enrolled in 2010 demonstrated the suitability of the plan as determined through their budget analysis by making their first three scheduled payments. A thorough audit performed at the 4-month mark of enrollment indicates that 98% of accounts are receiving common creditor benefits to help reduce indebtedness.
  • The typical Cambridge client received an interest rate reduction from 21.62% to 7.96% - 2010
  • The average Cambridge client saved $181.86 in interest charges per month. - 2010
  • The typical Cambridge client’s monthly payment was reduced by $192.70. - 2010
  • The average monthly fee assessed to a Cambridge client was $24.99 - 2010
  • In 2010, Cambridge clients who completed their DMP had done so in an average of 41 months.
  • Cambridge’s 2010 Quality Survey indicates that overall client satisfaction was 97.9% for new clients and 96.7% for existing clients.

“We exist in an environment of heightened regulation, but this is also an opportunity to educate policymakers, regulators, and consumers about the valuable services we provide,” concludes Viale. “Our profession needs to embrace the concept of openness, not avoid it. This type of transparency will act as a powerful toolkit for consumers seeking debt relief solutions.”

The Debt Relief Performance Report will be released at the beginning of each quarter and be made available to the public, to industry professionals, and to any regulator who would like to know more about how the agency functions. To learn more about the Transparency Project, please contact Cambridge’s President, Christopher Viale, at 1-888-694-7491, or at transparency(at)cambridgecredit(dot)org.

About Cambridge Credit Counseling
Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. is a professional housing and credit counseling agency dedicated to improving the financial literacy of young adults, and to providing financially distressed Americans with education and debt management services appropriate to their needs. Visit Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. online at http://www.cambridgecredit.org. To learn more about Cambridge Credit Counseling’s community initiatives, please visit http://www.youtube.com/CambridgeCredit.

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Liz Allbright

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