Inspiring Us This Week: Credit Counseling of Arkansas

Many people who experience debt in our community are not struggling because of carefree spending, but rather they have debt stemming from a crisis, such as: job loss, reduced work hours, divorce or medical bills. Credit Counseling of Arkansas, or CCOA helps families improve their financial stability by making a positive difference through helping people master their personal finances through free budget, credit & housing counseling. We are proud to call CCOA a partner agency, in a community where poverty, especially childhood poverty statistics are so high it is imperative to our success as a community to have agencies like CCOA joining us to change the statistics. CCOA provides hope to families in our community who feel like there is no hope left which is why they are “Inspiring Us This Week”.


 “A couple came to see us a little over four years ago. They ran their own business, and were pretty successful at it. However, when the recession hit, they had to rely on unsecured credit lines to keep the business afloat. Times were tough, but the husband felt that he could turn things around if he only poured more time and energy into the business. The stress of the debt payments, and his increased focus on the business put a terrible strain on their marriage, however. It was about ready to all come crashing down when the wife delivered an ultimatum. Either they deal with the growing debt, or she would leave him. They had heard about CCOA, did some research on us, and decided to schedule an appointment. They met with our financial counselor and she helped review their current situation and options. They were saddled with $159,000 of unsecured debt. They decided to enroll in our Debt Management Program to repay their debt. As a result, their interest rates dropped from an average of 10% down to 2% and they saved $22,000 in interest. Perhaps most important, they had a plan they could work on together to overcome the debt which was causing so much stress in their lives. That kept them focused and helped direct additional payments to creditors when they could.

This past year, they completed their repayment plan – about a year earlier than originally expected. Since then, they have turned to teach others on how to overcome debt. Because of their substantial accomplishment and their efforts to teach others how to overcome debt, we named them CCOA’s Debt Free Grad Clients of the Year.”

If you’re interested in helping this program so that you can assist individuals as they work to move forward on the path to success, check out what your gift can do:

$5 a week ($260 a year) will provide:

Credit report review sessions with 7 residents at the Peace at Home domestic violence shelter.

$10 a week ($520 a year) will provide:

Mortgage delinquency counseling, workout package preparation, and follow-up for two foreclosure prevention counseling clients.

$20 a week ($1,040 a year) will provide:

Twenty Marshallese financial education classes, with approximately 300 unduplicated participants.