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Cambridge Credit Counseling Releases Latest Performance Report

Cambridge credit counseling has release it’s latest performance report showing the effectiveness of their program. This group was the very first credit counseling organization to actually release information that described the effectiveness of the credit counseling solution in order for consumer to make a good informed decision before joining.

Cambridge believes that the unfiltered reporting of performance and satisfaction data is crucial to the health of the debt relief profession. Only through the presentation and examination of this data can the industry hope to improve its services, securing consumer and regulator confidence in the process.

The release of this information now is not the big news. What is news is that the NFCC, AICCCA and other credit counseling trade associations have not embraced this level of transparency and encouraged their members to follow suit.

You would assume that nonprofit credit counselors that operate as charities for the public good would be all over the release of this type of information.

Not to be cynical, one could safely assume that the lack of transparency by most nonprofit credit counseling groups on this issue is because their performance data is not good. Otherwise, why hide it?

Let’s say their argument is that they don’t want to provide that information due to competition issues. Hello, knock, knock, you are a bloody nonprofit group to serve disadvantaged consumers and provide them with best advice. Transparency is not against your mission, it is your mission.

My hat really tips to Christopher Viale, the leader of Cambridge Credit Counseling. I hope those folks realize how lucky they are to have him at the helm and leading this charge for truth and transparency.

By leading the charge for openness and transparency on credit counseling performance, Cambridge Credit Counseling has set themselves apart from the industry and established themselves as a leader consumers can trust.

The Report Findings

  • 21.2% of consumers that contacted the organization, enrolled in a Debt Management Plan.
  • 49.4% of clients who enrolled in Q1 2006 have completed their DMP in full.
  • The average initial fee for First Quarter 2011 enrollees was $39.96.
  • The average monthly fee for First Quarter 2011 enrollees was $25.22.
  • Cambridge waived or reduced 31.94% of initial fees and 36.29% of monthly fees in the First Quarter.
  • 81.3% of new clients also developed a plan to build savings.
  • 75.0% of long-term clients had revised their budget within the last 6 months.
  • 31.3% of long-term clients were able to build savings during the last 6 months.
  • The percentage of consumers worried about rising medical debts increased.
  • Creditor revenue per client was $13.47 per month.
  • Loss of income increased as a reason to seek assistance.
  • Large increase in consumers who report tracking expenses to gain financial clarity. – Source
Cambridge Credit Counseling Releases Latest Performance Report

Cambridge Credit Counseling Releases Latest Performance Report
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Alex Viecco

    This is so refreshing for the Debt industry.  Chris and the folks at Cambridge I want to commend you for your hard work and the openness of your numbers.  I know you have made some people very upset in the process because suddenly they will be asked questions they rather not answer like the completion rates.
    it is obvious you are doing well for your clients and as a consumer advocate I thank you.
    Keep up the great work of qualifying clients because as we all know, that is where it all starts!
    Alex

  • http://www.NewEraDebtSolutions.com Alex Viecco

    This is so refreshing for the Debt industry.  Chris and the folks at Cambridge I want to commend you for your hard work and the openness of your numbers.  I know you have made some people very upset in the process because suddenly they will be asked questions they rather not answer like the completion rates.
    it is obvious you are doing well for your clients and as a consumer advocate I thank you.
    Keep up the great work of qualifying clients because as we all know, that is where it all starts!
    Alex

  • Steve Rhode

    Mike,

    I was going to email Mr. Viale for you who runs Cambridge but I see he already beat me to punch and responded to your comment directly.

    Steve

  • Cviale
  • Mike

    Slightly off topic, but….I filled out the form Steve has to Cambridge in May, but never heard anything (reference http://getoutofdebt.org/21810/…  Do YOU have an e-mail I can use??

    Thanks.

  • Steve Rhode

    Here is the link to that interview where you talk openly about the past and hurdles you had to overcome to fix the mess.

  • When will it end?

    Chris and Thomas,

    I appreciate the reply and acknowledge the good work you both are doing going forward.

    However, Puccio, Pukke, McCallan DMP model was never to assist the consumer but to get them on a program as quick as possible and pay their counselors 25% commission on every first payment they closed. As the former managers of Debticated are in jail you cant really say you were directed to manage certain aspects of the business in a particular manner and use that as a defense. It obviously didnt work very well for them. So I will leave it at that and again respect the work you both are doing now and in the future.

    Thank you Gentlemen

  • Cviale

    hello, yes i did testify in front of congress and at the time believed in the upfront fee model with “full disclosure of the fee verbally and in writing not hidden” (unlike ameridebt and the way they tried to hide the fee as a tax deductible contribution). We also had the rebate program which returned well over 20 million to consumers who paid on time. I will say that managment(including myself) was shielded from some of the real problems with the structure of the organization and only became knowledgable to the extent of the issue’s later on as we attempted to restructure the organization. For the most part the problems related to private benefit and the fact that sometime in 2002 the occ/ffiec provided guidance to the creditor community that they could no longer extend benefits on client account upon receipt of proposal and had to wait until payments were received did charging a one month fee become a problem and the puccio’s should have changed the model but they didnt know of the issue or chose to ignore it in light of the money they were making.  I was interviewed by steve a while back and i go into greater detail in that interview. yes cambridge is a reformed player and with an incredible amount of oversight to ensure the restructuring was in fact carried out and it has been 7 plus years since then. For the past 3 years i have worked hard to demonstrate the nature of what cambridge and myself are all about so the past is the past. and we move forward, thats all i can do  christopher

  • Thomas J. Fox

    Hello,

    I understand your feelings, but Christopher cannot bear the brunt of the Puccio’s misgivings.  First, there are several inaccuracies in your post.  Christopher served as the General Manager, and the Puccio brothers held the roles of President and Vice President.  As most of us do, he had someone to report to and was directed to manage certain aspects of the business in a particular manner.  Neither Christopher nor Cambridge actively “deceived” consumers — the fee structure and first month’s payment were stated in our contracts, and reiterated by personnel.  We also had the “GoodPayer” program that gave clients 50% of the Fair Share the agency collected, which helped to offset our fees. Classify it as you may, I’m sure we can all agree that 2004 is a lifetime ago. 

    What should be noted is what Christopher has achieved since taking over Cambridge.  It’s easy to look at the negative as it often provides the comfort of justifiable feelings, but looking at the positive is the truest human trait. I would hope that you can include the good things he has helped to achieve, such as this project, when you weigh Christopher’s value to the industry, Cambridge’s Mission, and the scores of people who have received benefit from the our dedicated staff.  

    Sincerely,

    Thomas J. Fox
    Community Outreach Director
    Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

  • When will it end?

    The only thing with Cambridge is they are another reformed player. Although Chris Viale is doing good work now he was the VP there and testified in front of Congress in 2004 when the Puccio’s owned and ran Cambridge and back then raped consumers for thousands in upfront fees and never told them that their first payment wasnt going to their creditors.

    I know some of you have said I’m reliving the past well it just should be noted that he was running the day to day operations then and getting paid $400k a year from the first payment commissions the agency was collecting.

  • When will it end?

    The only thing with Cambridge is they are another reformed player. Although Chris Viale is doing good work now he was the VP there and testified in front of Congress in 2004 when the Puccio’s owned and ran Cambridge and back then raped consumers for thousands in upfront fees and never told them that their first payment wasnt going to their creditors.

    I know some of you have said I’m reliving the past well it just should be noted that he was running the day to day operations then and getting paid $400k a year from the first payment commissions the agency was collecting.

    • http://twitter.com/ThomasJFox Thomas J. Fox

      Hello,

      I understand your feelings, but Christopher cannot bear the brunt of the Puccio’s misgivings.  First, there are several inaccuracies in your post.  Christopher served as the General Manager, and the Puccio brothers held the roles of President and Vice President.  As most of us do, he had someone to report to and was directed to manage certain aspects of the business in a particular manner.  Neither Christopher nor Cambridge actively “deceived” consumers — the fee structure and first month’s payment were stated in our contracts, and reiterated by personnel.  We also had the “GoodPayer” program that gave clients 50% of the Fair Share the agency collected, which helped to offset our fees. Classify it as you may, I’m sure we can all agree that 2004 is a lifetime ago. 

      What should be noted is what Christopher has achieved since taking over Cambridge.  It’s easy to look at the negative as it often provides the comfort of justifiable feelings, but looking at the positive is the truest human trait. I would hope that you can include the good things he has helped to achieve, such as this project, when you weigh Christopher’s value to the industry, Cambridge’s Mission, and the scores of people who have received benefit from the our dedicated staff.  

      Sincerely,

      Thomas J. Fox
      Community Outreach Director
      Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

    • Cviale

      hello, yes i did testify in front of congress and at the time believed in the upfront fee model with “full disclosure of the fee verbally and in writing not hidden” (unlike ameridebt and the way they tried to hide the fee as a tax deductible contribution). We also had the rebate program which returned well over 20 million to consumers who paid on time. I will say that managment(including myself) was shielded from some of the real problems with the structure of the organization and only became knowledgable to the extent of the issue’s later on as we attempted to restructure the organization. For the most part the problems related to private benefit and the fact that sometime in 2002 the occ/ffiec provided guidance to the creditor community that they could no longer extend benefits on client account upon receipt of proposal and had to wait until payments were received did charging a one month fee become a problem and the puccio’s should have changed the model but they didnt know of the issue or chose to ignore it in light of the money they were making.  I was interviewed by steve a while back and i go into greater detail in that interview. yes cambridge is a reformed player and with an incredible amount of oversight to ensure the restructuring was in fact carried out and it has been 7 plus years since then. For the past 3 years i have worked hard to demonstrate the nature of what cambridge and myself are all about so the past is the past. and we move forward, thats all i can do  christopher       

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