Cambridge Credit Counseling finally went public today with its public challenge to the debt relief world to be transparent about the effectiveness of the solutions it provides. I know they’ve been working on this for a while now.
This marks the very first time I can think of when a credit counseling agency has embraced disclosing it’s performance measurements. Historically credit counseling groups and even the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has been unwilling to provide real data regarding the effectiveness of credit counseling.
Christopher Viale, the president and CEO of Cambridge Credit Counseling said “I’ve spoken with legislators, regulators and consumer groups, and many of them are confused about the debt relief industry. 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 performance numbers for the Cambridge Credit Counseling program are below.
- 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.
It has always amazed me that while credit counseling has been considered to be the “white knight” in the debt relief world they have also been extremely secretive of the actual performance of their programs. But Cambridge has not backed away from the elephant in the room.
In their first comprehensive transparency report they talk about the completion rates for DMPs. According to a study of 2005 enrollees into the debt management plan, 48.4% completed the program in full.
That could be the most amazing number ever but until other credit counseling groups start going public with their measurements, we just won’t know. I suspect that it will be at the top of the charts though.
Now that the call for transparency has been issued, credit counseling groups will need to make sure they are accurately reporting their true performance numbers. They certainly don’t want to be accused of deceptive marketing by fudging the figures.
This effort and call for transparency by Cambridge Credit Counseling will only better assist consumers and regulators to understand the true performance of the program. By requiring transparency and competing of program effectiveness the consumer will win.
Cambridge Credit Counseling is a member of the AACC.
In the spirit of openness, Cambridge invites any agency or individual who may have questions about this initiative to contact us at (888) 694-7491, or at [email protected]
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