National Nonprofit Credit Counseling Organization Says Consumers Paid Down $122 Million in Debt in 2010, Most Ever in 47 Years
ATLANTA, April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers are using Debt Management Plans more than ever to get back on their feet financially.
CredAbility reports that in 2010, 27,818 consumers participated in its Debt Management Plans (DMP) and paid back more than $122 million to their creditors. The $122 million is a record for the 47-year-old nonprofit credit counseling organization, and a three percent increase from the $118 million paid back in 2009.
"Many consumers are deciding to take control of their financial lives by working with their creditors to pay down their debt, even if it takes 36 months or longer," said Vicki Williams, vice president of Debt Management Plan Services for CredAbility. "They realize that this is a more responsible way to reduce debt and rebuild their credit compared to debt settlement or debt consolidation services offered by for-profit companies."
A Debt Management Plan (DMP) helps consumers who are struggling with credit card debt develop reduced payment programs with creditors. Many creditors offer favorable repayment terms to consumers who enroll in a DMP, including interest rates ranging from 6% to 10% on their credit card debt. These creditors may also eliminate late fees and penalties once a consumer enrolls in a DMP with a nonprofit credit counseling organization.
CredAbility says that the consumers on its Debt Management Plans in 2010 had higher incomes, more credit card debt and were older than in previous years.
In 2010, the average income of a person on a DMP with CredAbility was $53,880, a four percent increase compared to 2009. Each person on a DMP in 2010 had an average of $24,266 in credit card debt, a 4.5 percent increase compared to 2009. The average age of a person on DMP in 2010 was 48, up from 45 years old in 2009.
"While people enrolling in our DMPs earn good incomes, they have an increasing amount of credit card debt," Williams said. "We can help them negotiate lower interest rates with their creditors that may result in lower monthly payments."
Many people who opt for a DMP to repay their unsecured debt are prompted to seek help after late payments have caused their credit card interest rates to soar. In some cases, a DMP is a sound alternative to bankruptcy. Ultimately, the plan serves the dual purpose of helping consumers repay their debts and helping creditors receive the money owed to them.
At CredAbility, certified counselors help consumers determine whether they can tackle their financial challenges through budgeting and reduced spending, or if the structure of a debt management plan will be more effective.
What is a Debt Management Plan?
For a small monthly fee, consumers make a single payment to an agency like CredAbility, which acts as a trustee in distributing the funds to creditors. CredAbility works with both clients and creditors to design a debt repayment program that minimizes monthly payments, interest and related fees, providing a manageable tailored plan for the client. This enables the client to repay their entire debt obligation at more favorable terms, and on a plan that is within their ability to pay.
The repayment period varies based on amount owed and the repayment terms. The average debt management plan is structured to repay debt in 36-60 months.
The key to reclaiming your financial independence is recognizing the need for help and getting it. At CredAbility, certified counselors will help you evaluate your financial situation and find the solution that best suits you. For more information on Debt Management Plans or to talk with a certified counselor about your options for a debt free life, contact CredAbility at 800.251.2227 or online at www.CredAbility.org.
CredAbility is one of the leading nonprofit credit counseling and education agencies in the United States, serving clients in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in both English and Spanish. In addition, we provide in-person counseling through our branch network of 28 offices located across the southeast.
Founded in 1964, CredAbility is a family of Consumer Credit Counseling Service agencies that includes CCCS of Greater Atlanta, CCCS of Central Florida and the Florida Gulf Coast, CCCS of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, CCCS of East Tennessee, CCCS of Jackson (Mississippi) and CCCS of Upstate South Carolina.
The nonprofit agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Governed by a community-based board of directors, CredAbility is funded by creditors, clients, individual donors and grants from foundations, businesses and government agencies. Service is provided 24/7 by phone at 800.251.2227 and online at www.CredAbility.org.