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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB reports on debt settlement and credit counseling

Federal Issues CFPB Debt Settlement Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On July 10, the CFPB released the latest quarterly consumer credit trends report on debt settlement and credit counseling from 2007 through 2019. The report notes that debt settlements “increased sharply” during the 2008 recession. It also noted that debt settlement activity has been on the rise again following changes in delinquencies and credit tightness. The Bureau concludes that the recent increase in debt settlement activity is a “function of changing macroeconomic conditions, creditor account management strategies, and apparent increases in for-profit [debt settlement] activity.” The report notes that there is no corresponding increase in credit counseling activities, which is consistent with debt settlement companies “gaining market presence” and a reduction in the availability of credit counseling programs.

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