PressKit American Consumer Credit Counseling by alicejenny


									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

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

Mr. Trumble serves as a voting member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies
Donna Conley
Vice President and Manager of Disbursements

Donna Conley is the Vice President and Disbursement Manager and has
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
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
                                     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

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
                          payments and expenses and start decreasing your overall level of debt.
                          Financial difficulties are imminent unless you take immediate action. Stop accumulating new
                          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

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
       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
                                                   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.

                "To promote and support financial literacy through community partnership opportunities
                that provide individuals with the essential tools needed for a healthy and smart financial

                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
                                                                                                          Media Contact: Tom Palange
                                                                                                   American Consumer Credit Counseling
                                                                                                                 800-769-3571 Ext. 708

                          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

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