The current economic climate is one of unprecedented consumer debt, rising unemployment, declining home values, and the implosion of many household budgets. Consumers are fearful and trying to figure out ways to decrease their debt and increase savings.
According to a 2007 Forrester study, 62% of the population has less than $100,000 in assets. As a combined group, they represent only 12% of consumer assets nationwide…and are being overlooked by today’s financial advisors. This group in particular struggles with day-to-day “life” decisions such as debt counseling, home and auto financing, college savings, retirement savings, etc.
Consumers need a trusted place where they can look at their own financial situation before they take the next steps in getting help.
What is the research about?
In this i3 Idea Blueprint, readers will learn about Debt in Focus. Debt in Focus is a web-based debt management tool that is completely anonymous, user-friendly, and provides the end user with a summary of their debt totals, ratios, and estimated budget.
Debt in Focus delivers a personal action plan to help improve members’ credit profiles and reduce debt. It’s clear there is consumer demand—70% of those surveyed by Filene i3 indicated that Debt in Focus would help them better manage their debt, while 85% indicated that they would be interested in additional assistance—for a modest fee.
What are the credit union implications?
Credit union benefits include:
- Member-focused tool that supports financial health advocacy and self-service.
- Increased loan volume.
- Member affinity.
- New member acquisition.
Member benefits include:
- Anonymous service that is free to end users.
- Ability to save information and return to the tool at any time.
- An honest look at one's own situation that may be the impetus to change.
- An action plan to make improvements.