National Report on High Interest Loans

ACORN Canada undertook a study focusing on high interest loans, especially when taken online. For the purpose of the study, high interest loans were defined as loans such as payday loans, installment loans, title loans etc. that are taken from companies/institutions that are not regular banks or credit unions.

The study was conducted to examine the experience of lower-income consumers in the increasingly available online high-cost credit markets.

The study was divided into three phases - conducting a literature review and webscan which was undertaken by Prosper Canada; legislative scan to understand the regulatory framework; and a national survey to capture experiences of people who have taken high interest loans, especially online.



Creating Change: Momentum’s Contribution to High-Cost Credit Reform in Alberta

As part of Momentum’s systems change planning process that was grounded in both participant and community experience, the issue of payday loans and other forms of high-cost credit (e.g., pawn, installment, rent-to-own, title and car loans) emerged as a priority issue for Momentum to address the financial barriers for people living on low incomes to exit poverty and build sustainable livelihoods.
To evaluate its work for high-cost credit reform in Calgary and Alberta in the period of 2012 to 2019, an outcome harvest was conducted. This evaluation reflects the collective efforts of multiple partners, identifies outcomes achieved as well as Momentum’s contribution to these outcomes.



Money Mentors – Savings & Debt Resources

Collection of money management resources, including how create effective budgets, realistic spending plans, deal with your debts, save more money, build a stronger credit rating, and prepare for retirement.



Bien choisir son crédit : un guide pratique [A Practical Guide to Making Smart Credit Choices]

A guide comprised of 12 fact sheets for consumers to learn more about credit, grouped into the following topics: general information, warnings, credit products, and comparison tables. (Please note this is a French-language resource.)



Targeting credit builder loans: Insights from a credit builder loan evaluation

This report presents the results of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) funded evaluation of a Credit Builder Loan (CBL) product. CBLs are designed for consumers looking to establish a credit score or improve an existing one, while at the same time giving them a chance to build their savings.

The study used random assignment to explore four research questions:

  • How does the CBL affect participants’ likelihood of having a credit score?
  • For participants who already had a credit score, how does the CBL affect their score?
  • How likely are CBL borrowers to make late payments on the CBL and other loans?
  • Does the CBL affect participants’ savings balances?



The Early Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Credit Applications

This report documents the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on credit applications, which are among the very first credit market measures to change in credit report data in response to changes in economic activity. Using the Bureau’s Consumer Credit Panel, how applications for auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other loans changed week-by-week during the month of March, compared to the same time in previous years was studied.



Roadblock to Recovery: Consumer debt of low- and moderate-income Canadians in the time of COVID-19

Almost half of low-income households and 62 per cent of moderate-income households carry debt, with households on low incomes spending 31 per cent of their income on debt repayments, according to a new report published by national charity, Prosper Canada.

This report analyzes the distribution, amount and composition of non-mortgage debt held by low- and moderate-income Canadian households and explores implications for federal and provincial/territorial policy makers as they develop and implement COVID-19 economic recovery plans and fulfill their respective regulatory roles.



Making Safety Affordable: Intimate Partner Violence is an Asset-Building Issue

This brief explores three existing unmet needs that contribute to survivors’ inability to build wealth: money, tailored asset-building support, and safe and responsive banking and credit services. Within each identified need, specific issues facing survivors, strategic actions in response to those issues, as well as innovative ideas and existing promising practices to help funders take action to prioritize survivor wealth are discussed.



Lifting the Weight: Consumer Debt Solutions Framework

Aspen Financial Security Program’s the Expanding Prosperity Impact Collaborative (EPIC) has identified seven specific consumer debt problems that result in decreased financial insecurity and well-being. Four of the identified problems are general to consumer debt: households’ lack of savings or financial cushion, restricted access to existing high-quality credit for specific groups of consumers, exposure to harmful loan terms and features, and detrimental delinquency, default, and collections practices. The other three problems relate to structural features of three specific types of debt: student loans, medical debt, and government fines and fees.

This report presents a solutions framework to address all seven of these problems. The framework includes setting one or more tangible goals to achieve for each problem, and, for each goal, the solutions different sectors (financial services providers, governments, non-profits, employers, educational or medical institutions) can pursue.



Debt settlement and financial recovery companies: too risky an option?

This report presents a study of the debt settlement and financial recovery industry and examines Canadian consumer issues from these services. 

Data is gathered from company websites and contracts as well as customer surveys and questionnaires completed by governmental and non-governmental organizations. A comparative study of legislation applicable to the industry is also conducted.



Meeting the Emergency Moment: Key Takeaways from Delivering Remote Municipal Financial Counseling Services

Local governments across the United States are working to help their residents weather the health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cities and counties, that means deploying their Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs), which provide professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service. Local leaders were able to offer FEC financial counseling as a critical component of their emergency response infrastructure; the fact that this service already existed, and was embedded into the fabric of municipal anti-poverty efforts, meant that it could quickly pivot to meet new COVID-19 needs, including through offering remote financial counseling.

This brief describes how FEC partners identified the right technology; developed skills to deliver counseling remotely; messaged the availability of FEC services as part of their localities’ COVID-19 response; and shared lessons learned with their FEC counterparts around the country.



How Are the Most Vulnerable Households Navigating the Financial Impact of COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had an unprecedented impact on the financial lives of households across the United States. During June and July 2020, Prosperity Now conducted a national survey of lower-income households to better understand the circumstances these households are confronted with and the strategies they use to secure resources to navigate this crisis.



U.S. Financial Health Pulse: 2019 Trends Report

This report presents findings from the second annual U.S. Financial Health Pulse, which is designed to explore how the financial health of people in America is changing over time. The annual Pulse report scores survey respondents against eight indicators of financial health -- spending, bill payment, short-term and long-term savings, debt load, credit score, insurance coverage, and planning -- to assess whether they are “financially healthy,” “financially coping,” or “financially vulnerable”.  The data in the Pulse report provide critical insights that go beyond aggregate economic indicators, such as employment and market performance, to provide a more accurate picture of the financial lives of people in the U.S.



Financial well-being in America

This report provides a view into the state of financial well-being in America. It presents results from the National Financial Well-Being Survey, conducted in late 2016. The findings include the distribution of financial well-being scores for the overall adult population and for selected subgroups, which show that there is wide variation in how people feel about their financial well-being. The report provides insight into which subgroups are faring relatively well and which ones are facing greater financial challenges, and identifies opportunities to improve the financial well-being of significant portions of the U.S. adult population through practice and research.



Credit Characteristics, Credit Engagement Tools, and Financial Well-Being

This report presents results from a joint research study between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Credit Karma. The purpose of the study is to examine how consumers’ subjective financial well-being relates to objective measures of consumers’ financial health, specifically, consumers’ credit report characteristics. The study also seeks to relate consumers’ subjective financial well-being to consumers’ engagement with financial information through educational tools.



When a Job Is Not Enough: Employee Financial Wellness and the Role of Philanthropy

This report sheds light on the role employers and philanthropy can play in best promoting financial well-being for workers through the offering of Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs). Data suggests that EFWPs improve employees financial stability and help create a more productive work enviroment.



Building Sustainable Communities

The Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) developed the strategy Building Sustainable Communities to tackle pressing need through an expansive network of Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) in dozens of communities nationwide. FOCs help clients find and maintain good jobs, stick to realistic budgets, improve their credit and save for the future. And they are located in the same neighborhoods where LISC is investing in housing and health, reducing crime, strengthening schools and re-energizing commercial corridors.

The research shows a direct relationship between the number and type of services accessed and the FOC clients’ ability to grow their earnings and secure their finances. For instance, those who spent the most time on all three bundled services offered by the FOCs (employment, coaching and public benefits) had the highest job placement rates and the highest job retention rates. 

 



Financial Health Index: 2019 Findings and 3-Year Trends Report

This report explores consumer financial health, wellness/ stress and resilience for Canadians across a range of financial health indicators, demographics and all provinces excluding Quebec. This report provides topline results from the 2019 Financial Health Index study and three-year trends from 2017 to 2019.



Short-term financial stability: A foundation for security and well-being

Short-term cushions are key to longer-term financial security and well-being. 

 

This report shines a light on the central role that short-term financial stability plays in a person’s ability to reach broader financial security and upward economic mobility, a measurement of whether an individual moves up the economic ladder over one’s lifetime or across generations.

The insights presented in this report draw primarily on evidence provided by members of the Consumer Insights Collaborative (CIC), a group of nine leading nonprofits across the United States convened by the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program. These diverse organizations offer a window into the financial lives of the low- and moderate-income individuals they serve.

 



Debt management solutions

This is a one-hour webinar on debt management solutions in Canada for situations where someone's debt is significant enough that specialized solutions are needed. The speakers explain what steps are likely to be involved in the credit counselling process in setting up a debt management plan, or working with a licensed insolvency trustee to file a consumer proposal or bankruptcy.

The speakers in this webinar are:

Click 'Get it' below to access the video link, and scroll down to access handouts, slides, and video timestamps for this webinar.



Read the presentation slides for this webinar.

Access the handouts for this webinar:
How we help people – An overview (Webinar handout) – Credit Counselling Society
Our services (Webinar handout) – Credit Counselling Society
Debt solutions 101 (Webinar handout)  – msi Spergel Inc

Time-stamps for the video-recording:
4:13 – Agenda and introductions
7:00 – Audience polls
12:31 – Debt in Canada (Speaker: Glenna Harris)
15:20 – Credit Counselling Society on debt management plans (Speaker: Anne Arbour)
34:05 – Spergel Msi on Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy plans (Speaker: Gillian Goldblatt)
56:00 – Q&A

Mortgage and Consumer Credit Trends Report

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) publishes a quarterly report on Canadian trends relating to mortgage debt and consumer borrowing. Find out the level of Canadian household indebtedness, and emerging trends in outstanding debt balances in different urban areas and by age group. 



An Evaluation of Financial Empowerment Centers: Building People’s Financial Stability as a Public Service

This report is a three-year evaluation of the Financial Empowerment Center initiative’s replication in 5 cities (Denver, CO; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA and San Antonio, TX). Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. The evaluation draws on data from 22,000 clients who participated in 57,000 counseling sessions across these first 5 city replication partners, and provides additional evidence of the program’s success. 



Dealing with debt: Worksheet 7 – Know your rights and options

When dealing with debt, there can be some difficult situations where you may need help. If you are dealing with creditors, or collection agencies, there are steps you can take to ensure you are communicating clearly. It is also important to know your rights and options.

This worksheet describes options for what to do if you need help with significant debt issues.

'Know your rights and options' is the seventh worksheet in the 'Dealing with debt' toolkit. Find the full resource here

 



Dealing with debt: Worksheet 6 – Your credit report and credit score

Knowing your credit history is an important part of managing your debt. It is important that you get your free credit report once a
year to check for any errors. The information on this page will help you:

  • Get free copies of your credit reports
  • Understand what’s included in your credit reports
  • Check your credit report for errors and signs of identity theft
  • Dispute any errors you find

'Your credit report and credit score' is the sixth worksheet in the 'Dealing with debt' toolkit. Find the full resource here



Mortgage Calculator

This calculator from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada determines your mortgage payment and provides you with a mortgage payment schedule.

Dealing with debt


Many of us struggle to talk about money, especially when it comes to talking about debt. It is when debt becomes too much for us to manage, or when we do not have a plan to pay it off, that it can become stressful and even overwhelming. This is when it is time to have those tough conversations and make a plan to deal with debt.

This booklet provides a set of activities to help you manage your debt, identify your money priorities, calculate what you owe and strategize how you can pay it back. These worksheets can be completed on your own, in the sequence that works best for you. However, we recommend working with a trusted financial coach or credit counsellor if possible.

Printed copies of this booklet are available to order at $150 per box of 50 booklets.

Order "Dealing with debt" Booklets - English

 

We are grateful to the Government of Ontario for generously funding this resource, and to Credit Counselling Sudbury for their content consultation.

Latest update on May 14, 2020:
Worksheet resources in this toolkit are available as fillable PDFs. Please open with Adobe Acrobat Reader for full functionality.