In a Nutshell: For more than 50 years, Credit Canada has offered debt relief services to millions of Canadian consumers struggling with seemingly unmanageable debt. Anyone who calls the agency or asks for assistance via an online request will have the benefit of Credit Canada’s free credit counseling services. Once a request is made, certified credit counselors work with the consumer to review expenses and analyze the amount and types of outstanding debt they have. Debt-laden consumers can count on expert advice, and the certified counselors will detail all of the available options. Credit Canada also supports clients through its debt consolidation program, credit building program, money management workshops, and financial education services.
Human nature is an interesting thing. When we’re sick, we seek medical advice and treatment. When our vehicles need to be serviced, we take them to the mechanic. If a major appliance is broken, we call in the repair experts to fix it. But when credit card and other debt becomes too much for us to handle on our own, we somehow fail to follow the same logic in asking for help.
It’s a sad fact that many of us don’t realize our debt burden has reached an unmanageable level until it’s too late. We can’t seem to resist making every effort to fix the problem ourselves, even if the odds are stacked against us. But far too often the problem of overwhelming debt is made worse by not seeking advice from the experts early in the process.
Credit Canada is the first and longest established credit counseling and debt management service in Canada. For more than 50 years, the certified counselors at Credit Canada have helped millions of Canadians understand and resolve their debt burden so they can regain their financial freedom. As a not-for-profit credit counseling agency, Credit Canada is committed to putting people first and helping anyone who needs the assistance.
If it seems like Credit Canada is a different kind of debt and credit counseling agency, that’s because it is. While much of Canada and almost all of the United States is dominated by for-profit credit counseling and repair services, this agency was founded with a far different goal in mind.
We wanted to know a little more about the origins of the institution, so we recently spoke with Credit Canada’s CEO, Laurie Campbell.
“Credit Canada was founded in 1966, around the time consumer credit was becoming widely used, and the idea of credit cards was still relatively new,” she said. “When a federal judge realized he was seeing a lot of debt-related cases, he mandated the creation of Credit Counselling Services of Toronto. Over time, the agency grew, and, in 2006, we changed the name of our agency to Credit Canada.”
Credit Canada Has a Mandate to Help Consumers
When Credit Canada, the first credit counseling service in Canada was established, the agency’s ground rules and mandate were clear. The counseling service would be available free of charge to anyone who asked, regardless of debt or income level. Other services, like debt consolidation which includes negotiation with creditors, would be fee-based, but only to cover the administrative costs of running the agency and its programs.
As Laurie explained, “Our mandate is to assist anyone who is seeking help with debt or is having credit problems. Credit Canada will help anyone who needs credit counseling and money management help, free of charge. All of our counselors are certified and accredited. They review monthly expenses with clients, look at their total debt, and help create a budget for them. If they determine there is a cash flow issue, counselors will present the different options available.”
In addition to credit counseling and personal money management, Credit Canada also provides credit building and debt consolidation services, and will negotiate with creditors to help clients erase debt faster through proven strategies. Credit Canada’s Counselor Manager, Paulette Thompson, shared a little more with us about how the debt consolidation program works.
“Our counselors will negotiate with a client’s creditors on behalf of the client to either stop or significantly reduce the interest on their debt,” she said. “The counselor will also propose a repayment schedule with the client’s creditors, so the client only has to make a single payment to Credit Canada, which then gets disbursed to their creditors on a prorated basis. The debt consolidation program can last as long as five years, but most are between two and four years. We also include credit building as part of our debt consolidation program’s aftercare.”
Unlike many of its competitors, Credit Canada doesn’t require prospective clients to have a debt minimum before they can use its services. Credit Canada looks at each case individually to determine a client’s best financial interest before moving forward. Not all debt resolution companies are the same, and consumers owe it to themselves to pursue all available options.
Experienced Credit Counselors Make All the Difference
Credit Canada is an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada (CCC), a national association of nonprofit credit counseling service organizations. Each of Credit Canada’s counselors is trained and certified as an Accredited Financial Counsellor through the Association for Financial Counselling & Planning Education (AFCPE).
Numerous Consumer Choice awards, as well as an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, attest to the skill and dedication practiced by the counselors at Credit Canada. With an average of 10 years in the field, each counselor has the expertise required to advise consumers with even the most complex debt problems.
As Laurie was glad to point out to us, “The true jewels of our organization and our service are our counselors. They’re the ones who meet with and get to know our clients, and real relationships are formed while helping them through resolving their debt problems.”
The certified credit counselors at Credit Canada currently assist around 70,000 clients a year, and have resolved more than $350 million in consumer debt. Simply put, they know the ins and outs of debt problems and personal money management.
A Focus on Financial Literacy that Puts People First
Promoting financial literacy and establishing programs dedicated to personal money management is a big part of what Credit Canada offers consumers. Laurie has been a staunch advocate for more than 25 years for debt management and financial literacy in the marketplace.
This commitment is what leads to the belief that learning how to properly manage money can help people avoid debt problems and ensure future financial freedom. The Credit Canada website is filled with important resources like how to create a monthly budget, and how to set saving goals. Consumers can also find step-by-step plans for personal money management.
Community outreach and personal financial coaching are other ways Credit Canada attempts to educate the general public about debt, finance, and developing critical skills in money management. Through its Education Department, as well as its six-part financial coaching series, Credit Canada hopes to improve the financial health of its clients and help them achieve financial wellness.
Credit Canada’s debt relief and credit counseling services can provide folks who can really use the help a second chance at responsible debt and money management. No matter where you are in life, if debt worries have you up at night, Credit Canada is where Canadians can turn to for unbiased and expert financial advice.