Mission ACCC strives to empower consumers to regain control over the quality of their lives through financial education, counseling, and debt management. Vision ACCC strives to develop a greater community of financially responsible individuals and families that will thrive for generations to come. Through collaboration with community partners and financial institutions, ACCC is dedicated to providing unsurpassed financial education and services to those who need it most. History Founded in 1991, American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization offering education and credit counseling services to consumers nationwide. We recognize that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently, from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action for reducing their debt and regaining financial stability. ACCC is ISO 9001:2000 certified and a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, both requiring that stringent operational guidelines be met. Annual audits are required to maintain our certification. Our Quality Policy mandates that we strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of our business. Products and Services Counseling Services – Certified counselors work with consumers in person, by phone or live chat to take an in-depth look at their financial situation. Counselors provide options for relieving financial stress through budget analysis, educational resources, and personal financial management and social service referrals. Debt Management Program – Professionally trained and independently certified counselors evaluate a consumer’s financial situation, assist in creating a budget, and make repayment plans with creditors. ACCC works in partnership with creditors to lower or eliminate interest and late payments. All unsecured debt is consolidated into one affordable payment that is disbursed directly to their creditors each month. Home Buyer Information - Consumers learn the process of homeownership including beginning the home buying process, credit payment history, prequalification, available loans, and searching for a home. Identity Theft Awareness – Consumers learn how to protect their most valuable asset, their identity. Counselors provide information regarding how to protect against identity thieves as well as what steps to take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim. Financial Education Package – The Financial Education Package includes our exclusive money, debt and credit course, Surviving Debt financial book and three informative financial books about household budgeting, student loans and taxes. Financial Tools and Calculators – Through the Financial Fitness Center consumers have access to various financial, educational tools that include budgeting calculators, web seminars, articles, youth resources, and podcasts. Community Education – ACCC is dedicated to educating consumers to manage their money and use credit responsibly. Our community workshop team teaches financial education programs to children and adults. Our education programs are offered FREE of charge to participants including all materials and are customized depending on the needs of the participants and run from 1-6 weeks or as needed. The workshops are held throughout the year during the day, evenings, and weekends, providing maximum flexibility for participants to attend. Through our programs and services, participants learn about budgeting, saving, spending, investing, credit, identity theft and homeownership. In addition, they learn about programs, services and resources that are available to help them achieve their financial goals. Steven R. Trumble President and Chief Executive Officer Steven R. Trumble is the President and Chief Executive Officer of American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Trumble provides ACCC’s strategic direction including the development and implementation of plans, policies, and objectives. Mr. Trumble also budgets for ACCC’s growth and operation, while ensuring that the highest standards of consumer education and credit counseling are achieved. Mr. Trumble’s vision began more than 15 years ago in a small location in downtown Waltham where he counseled individuals on a one on one basis. Mr. Trumble counseled individuals on their personal financial difficulties and assisted them in finding the best plan of action for getting out of debt. His perseverance and desire to help people regain control of their lives led ACCC to help thousands of consumers across the U.S. today. Mr. Trumble believes that everyone deserves a second chance and has contributed much of his time to helping educate consumers about financial management. Mr. Trumble is dedicated to educating consumers about financial literacy and contributes a great deal of time working with local community organizations and schools. He is very active in ACCC’s Partnership for the Advancement of Financial Literacy Program (P.A.L.), created to support financial literacy efforts in community groups across Massachusetts. Mr. Trumble serves as a voting member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA). Donna Conley Vice President and Manager of Disbursements Donna Conley is the Vice President and Disbursement Manager and has been with ACCC since 1993. As Vice President, Ms. Conley assists the Chief Executive Officer with the day to day operations and assists with the strategic planning and growth of the organization. Ms. Conley also plays an instrumental role in management development and corporate direction. As Disbursement Manager, Ms. Conley is responsible for making sure all funds are received and disbursed appropriately and that payments are made to creditors in a timely manner. She has also been highly involved in improving and updating the process of disbursing client funds multiple times per month, as well as coordinating any reporting improvements to better meet accuracy standards. Ms. Conley holds a Credit Counseling Certification through the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Eduation and the National Institute for Financial Education. For more than thirteen years, Ms. Conley has served as Clerk on ACCC’s Board of Directors assisting with meetings, documentation, and reporting. Prior to joining ACCC, Ms. Conley worked for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company as a Sales Analyst for more than eight years. Ms. Conley also has extensive work experience in accounting and tax-related issues. Jessica Slate Community Education Supervisor Jessica Slate is the Community Education Supervisor at ACCC. Ms. Slate promotes financial literacy programs in communities across Eastern Massachusetts through community workshops and outreach efforts. Since joining ACCC in 2004, Ms. Slate has regularly participated in financial literacy initiatives with organizations such as the Salvation Army Cambridge Corp., Center for Women and Enterprise, and Boston's JobNet. Ms. Slate serves on the board of directors of Rotary Club of Arlington and is an active member of the Boston New Alliance Task Force, where she addresses financial needs of emerging markets. Ms. Slate has over 10 years experience in non-profit management, fund-raising, and advocacy. She holds a Master of Business from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Science from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. COMMUNITY OUTREACH FACT SHEET ACCC’s community outreach team builds lasting partnerships in order to provide free financial workshops and community events to consumers in the Greater Boston Area. ACCC provides the following programs to consumers and community partners in order to promote financial literacy: Budget & Credit Workshops Youth Money Management The budgeting and credit workshop teaches consumers The Youth Money Management program is designed for how to create a budget and a step by step plan to meet young adults of diverse economic backgrounds. The expenses in a given time period. The workshop also program combines sound budgeting skills and interactive covers credit including the real cost of credit and simulation games to teach basic money management common credit card practices that every consumer concepts needed for future financial decisions. should know. Customized youth programs are available to community groups, non-profits, financial institutions, businesses, Identity Theft Workshops and schools in the Greater Boston Area. Identity Theft happens when someone obtains your personal identifying information for fraudulent purposes. Homeowner Budgeting Program This workshop teaches consumers how identity theft In the successful homeownership workshop consumers occurs, ways to prevent identity theft and what you can will learn more about managing money and credit; do if you are a victim of identity theft. affording their mortgage; saving at home; understanding predatory lending; and avoiding foreclosure. Participants Money Smart will reduce their stress and reach financial goals through American Consumer Credit Counseling presents the making better financial decisions and managing credit as Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Money homeowners. Different types of loan options will be Smart training program to help adults enhance their discussed along with tips to afford the mortgage and money skills and create positive banking relationships. protection from predatory mortgages. The Money Smart curriculum helps build financial knowledge, develop financial confidence, and use Understanding Credit Reports banking services effectively. Customized Money Smart ACCC provides to groups of 6 or more adults working to seminars are available to community groups, non-profits, understand their credit report and manage credit. Taught financial institutions, businesses, and schools in the by a certified credit counselor, this course reviews the Greater Boston Area. different sections of the credit report helping participants understand their individual reports. During the workshop, suggestions are offered for managing typical credit issues, such as mistakes on credit reports. FINANCIAL FITNESS CENTER FACT SHEET ACCC provides full service consumer financial education to individuals nationwide through our online Financial Fitness Center. The Financial Fitness Center is designed to help guide consumers in all aspects of personal money management and help them improve your financial literacy. The information provided is available free of charge and can be found by logging on to www.financialfitnesscenter.org. Within our Financial Fitness Centersm individuals will have access to: Money Smart: Money Smart is a training program to help individuals outside the financial mainstream enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships. The Money Smart curriculum helps individuals build financial knowledge, develop financial confidence, and use banking services effectively. This is an online interactive self-paced learning program. Web Seminars and Podcasts - ACCC’s web seminars and podcasts are designed to educate individuals in a virtual one-on-one environment with a credit counselor. Topics include budgeting, credit and credit reports, identity theft and home buying. Calculators – These useful financial tools are available to individuals develop a realistic assessment of their personal finances. Financial Fitness Center for Kids – This area provides children with interactive games, puzzles, and educational activities that encourage parents and their children to learn the basics of money management at an early age. Learning Links – This area provides consumers with information on such issues as credit improvement, privacy and protection, mortgage and home equity, credit education, and collection laws. Book Depot – The Book Depot provides consumers with recommendations for books on various financial topics such as personal finance, college planning, retirement, and debt management. Money Management Memos – These downloadable fact sheets will provide consumers with brief lessons and tips for organizing their financial lives. Topics include Everyday Budgeting and Money Saving Tips, Divorce and Credit, and Ways to Keep Disaster-Proof Finances. National Education Program – With clients and partners in all 50 states, ACCC’s National Education Program provides a way for ACCC to give in-depth financial literacy presentations to organizations nationwide. The Budget & Credit and Identity Theft packages include a detailed Power Point presentation, participant guides, and practical handouts. UNDERSTANDING DEBT FACT SHEET A creditor or lender can use a number of formulas to determine your credit risk. One approach is to use the Debt-to- Income Ratio to compare the amount of your take-home income with the amount of your overall debt (excluding your mortgage or rent payment). This ratio is calculated by taking your monthly debt payment (auto loan, credit cards, other loans, etc.) and dividing it by your total monthly take-home income. The resulting percentage is your Debt-to-Income Ratio percentage. Typically, creditors and lenders may follow these Debt-to-Income Ratio percentages to determine your credit standing: Less than 20% This is a healthy debt load to carry for most people. Not bad, start trimming debt before you get into trouble. Look carefully at your monthly 20%-35% payments and expenses and start decreasing your overall level of debt. Financial difficulties are imminent unless you take immediate action. Stop accumulating new 35%-50% debt and start looking for ways to decrease your total debt level. Greater than 50% Seek professional help to aggressively reduce debt. If you keep your debt-to-income ratio under 20 percent you are more likely to qualify for the lowest interest rates and best terms when you apply for credit. Because it is such a powerful indicator, lenders will utilize your debt-to-income ratio when they consider extending credit to you. If you let your debt-to-income ratio rise above 20% you will jeopardize your chances of making major purchases, such as a car or a home. Moreover, if your ratio is high, you will find it difficult to get additional credit in case of emergencies. Other warning signs that may indicate a problem with credit card debt include: making late payments, transferring balances from one account to another, depending on overtime at work to cover minimum monthly bills, borrowing money to cover basic living expenses, and hoping checks do not clear the bank before payday. If you suffer from these issues consider installing these guidelines: Stop using your credit cards immediately. Explain your financial situation to your creditors honestly before your account becomes seriously past due and/or gets referred to a collection agency. Pay at least the minimum payment on all bills before the due date. Keep a budget. Record all household income and record all spending for at least two months. Avoid borrowing money to pay off other creditors. Consider contacting a reputable non-profit credit counseling agency such as ACCC that will provide a confidential budgeting consultation. IDENTITY THEFT FACT SHEET Identity theft is a serious and growing problem in the United States that affected approximately 10,000,000 people in the last year alone and continues to top the list of consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission. The crimes committed by an identity thief often leave the victim angry and frustrated as well as having to spend many months trying to restore their credit rating. Despite the constant threat faced by consumers there are ways to reduce the chances of having your identity stolen: Secure personal Information: Do not carry your social security card with you, and never give it out unless required. Only leave your home with the credit cards that you plan to use. Shred all sensitive information before disposing it to foil “dumpster divers”. Know where your credit card is at all times during a transaction. Make sure you get the card back immediately. Keep all receipts and check against monthly billing statements, report any questionable charges immediately in writing. Always mail bills and other financial information from a secure mailbox. Draw a line through blank spaces on receipts and never sign a blank receipt. Beware of suspicious emails that solicit requests for personal information. When in doubt call the respective company directly. Beware of spam, unwanted email, and those soliciting personal information. When in doubt call the respective company directly. Order a copy of your credit reports from all 3 credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, Trans Union. Ensure that no requests for credit have been made without your authorization. To order your free copy visit www.annualcreditreport.com. WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING “I would like to say thank you to ACCC for their help in resolving our financial difficulties. My wife and I have worked diligently over the last 18 months to help get our financial house in order and it gives me great pleasure to make this final payment. Your organization’s mission is very important in this day and time and we pledged to manage our finances so we may never need your services again.” “Everyone at ACCC communicates very well up front as to what the client can expect. You provide excellent budgeting education. I spent years trying to work with the credit card companies to dig out of the hole we were in, with no success. Your assistance has helped us tremendously. My husband now sees the light at the end of the tunnel and is fully on board with our budget. Thank you for your assistance!” “I want to take this opportunity to offer my extreme gratitude to you and your colleagues at ACCC. Without the help of your organization I would have been left with no alternative five years ago but to declare bankruptcy, a choice with life- altering ramifications. This journey has been so difficult; I will not try to sugar coat that reality. Now that it is done, I can look back in wisdom and accomplishment, but most of all in gratitude for what your organization enabled me to do; meet my obligations while being able to sustain a life as a single parent. I will never be able to express what it felt like to have help when I needed it so very desperately. On those days when the work you do seems only burdened with difficulties, please remember that what you do matters so much, and truly changes lives in profound ways. My best to you and everyone in your organization.” “I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone associated with ACCC. Without your caring and help my wife and I would still be in debt. It feels like the world has been lifted from my shoulders, my wife and I can feel what it is like to have some extra spending money. YOU GUYS ARE GREAT!” “My husband and I want to express our deepest appreciation and thanks. Many families like us, were victims of 9/11. We became unemployed, and our budget got out of control. You reduced my interest rates, and we got our bills on a regular schedule. As a result, we finally succeeded in refinancing our mortgage at a lower interest rate. We are very satisfied with your program and cannot thank you enough for helping us get our credit situation under control.” “I have been extremely pleased with American Consumer Credit Counseling’s service. I am fortunately in a position to completely pay off my credit card debt and have already successfully done so. Thank you for your help over these past few years. Your services have allowed me to keep my credit standing in excellent condition.” Unsolicited comments by clients concern individual results based on individual needs, concerns, and circumstances. These past results and experiences should not be construed as a guarantee that similar results and experiences are typical. Client comments are included for informational purposes only. PARTNERSHIP FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF FINANCIAL LITERACY (PAL) FACT SHEET Mission "To promote and support financial literacy through community partnership opportunities that provide individuals with the essential tools needed for a healthy and smart financial future." What is the PAL Program? In April of 2004, ACCC introduced the Partnership for the Advancement of Financial Literacy (PAL). The PAL program was created to support and promote the financial literacy efforts of local community groups across Massachusetts. Throughout the year, ACCC makes monetary contributions to various community organizations to assist current, or start-up, financial based educational programs. Financial awareness serves as a critical component in supporting proper budget maintenance and responsible credit management skills and ACCC is committed to this educational discipline. How Does PAL Promote Financial Literacy? ACCC monetary donation goes towards fulfilling an organization's needs. Recipient can utilize funds to better educate consumers. ACCC provides financial education workshops based upon specified needs of the community partner. ACCC donates education materials (books, pamphlets, worksheets) that the organization can distribute at will. Tax Season Brings Boston Non-Profits Closer ACCC's Education and Development Manager Katie Ross (L) presents Mimi Turchinetz (C) and Jeff LaFave (R) of the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition, with a $2,500 grant to support credit education for Boston tax filers FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Contact: Tom Palange American Consumer Credit Counseling 800-769-3571 Ext. 708 email@example.com Tax Season Brings Boston Non-Profits Closer ACCC and the EITC Coalition join forces to provide free credit education January 25, 2007 – Newton, MA – Low to moderate-income families in the city of Boston can rest easy this tax season, thanks to the new partnership between American Consumer Credit Counseling, a Newton based non-profit organization and the EITC Coalition. ACCC recently provided a grant to support the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition (EITC.) In addition, ACCC will be providing volunteer services throughout this year’s tax season. In cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the City of Boston, and organizations like ACCC, the EITC Coalition is hosting credit report review sessions for consumers at two EITC sites around the city. At the Roxbury Service Center and the Codman Square Tech Center, ACCC volunteers will serve as some of the thirty volunteers asked to assist consumers with preparing their financial situations for the 2007 tax season. This week, ACCC announces a $2,500 grant to the EITC Coalition to help supplement its educational component to the program. The grant serves as part of ACCC’s ongoing Partnership for the Advancement of financial Literacy (PAL), which has contributed over $50,000 to community organizations that promote financial literacy. “ACCC’s PAL grant to the EITC Coalition will ensure that the volunteers have access to the credit reports and other financial resources they need to appropriately serve consumers,” said Katie Ross, Manager of Education & Development at ACCC. EITC Campaign Director Mimi Turchinetz also had this to say about the partnership: “Our relationship with American Consumer Credit Counseling is important because it exposes consumers to the fundamentals of credit education. By taking the proper steps towards improving their credit, consumers can reach the stepping stones that lead them towards earning wealth and moving up the financial ladder.” Credit education is only one portion of the larger EITC program designed to maximize the government-issued Earned Income Tax Credit, but ACCC’s commitment has already begun to pay off. ACCC has already begun training EITC volunteers on how to present credit education, and the first counseling sessions begin this week. By tax season’s end, an estimated 10,000 people will have been assisted with credit education and tax preparation. For more information about this program or about other partnership opportunities, contact Jessica Slate at 1-800-769-3571 ext. 207. ABOUT ACCC: American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to regain control of their lives through education, counseling and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to www.consumercredit.com.
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