Friday, January 9, 2009

Two Major Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies Announce Merger

/PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta and Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Central Florida & The Florida Gulf Coast today announced that their two organizations have merged.

Together these agencies provided credit, housing and bankruptcy counseling and education services, as well as debt repayment plans, to an estimated 550,000 consumers during 2008. The combined organization will have approximately 300 certified counselors and 33 counseling offices in four states.

The merger enables CCCS of Greater Atlanta to significantly expand its service area. While the Atlanta-based agency already has offices in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Stuart and Port St. Lucie, after the merger it will reach an additional 8 million Florida residents in Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee, Fort Myers, Naples, Clearwater, Daytona Beach and several other Florida communities.

Clients of CCCS of Central Florida & The Florida Gulf Coast, now served by 15 offices, gain access to the 24-hour toll-free telephone and sophisticated internet counseling that is offered by CCCS of Greater Atlanta around the clock, 365 days a year.

"The merger will enable us to take advantage of CCCS of Greater Atlanta's large base of counselors that are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Rick Skaggs, chief executive officer of CCCS of Central Florida & The Florida Gulf Coast. "Having more counselors available around the clock means financially distressed Floridians can get the help they need in a more timely manner."

"This combination will help Floridians gain more convenient access to certified, nonprofit credit counselors who can help them find solutions for their financial problems," said Suzanne Boas, president of CCCS of Greater Atlanta. "The merger will also bring our Atlanta operation more depth in bilingual and reverse mortgage counseling, which are strengths of the Central Florida agency.

Both agencies are certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, help staff the national foreclosure prevention hotline (888-995-HOPE), and provide reverse mortgage counseling. In addition, both organizations are certified by the Executive Office of the United States Trustees for pre-filing bankruptcy counseling and pre-discharge debtor education.

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