Talk Wealth to Me

#064 All You Need to Know About Consumer Credit Counseling with Carlos Perez

November 20, 2020 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Carlos Perez Season 3 Episode 13
Talk Wealth to Me
#064 All You Need to Know About Consumer Credit Counseling with Carlos Perez
Show Notes Transcript

Paying back credit card debt is often stressful. Many people don't know what their interest rates are, and if they do, whether that rate is a good or bad one. It can be a daunting task figuring out how to get out from under seemingly never-ending credit card debt. You can scour the internet trying to find the best ways to pay it back. You will also find that there is a ton of information, books and articles on the subject. There are also companies with programs that can help. But which one is the right one? One option is consumer credit counseling. This episode our guest is Carlos Perez, Director of Counseling Services at DebtWave Credit Counseling, Inc. We discuss the pros and cons of nonprofit organizations' services and other programs available to help.

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Speaker 1:

[inaudible] Welcome to Talk Wealth To Me, a safe space podcast, where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance, the information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting , legal tax or other professional advice.

Chase Peckham:

Hello, and welcome to Talk Wealth to Me, paying back debt, as we all know, especially credit card debt can be an incredibly difficult thing. Where do we start? My interest rates are super high and I can't afford to pay much more than the minimum payment. This is something that we hear all the time and it's not uncommon. And there are many, many different ways that you can pay back debt in great ways. And there are also programs out there. There are companies that can help you pay back debt, but navigating those can be incredibly difficult. What is the right one for you today? We have Carlos Perez who is the Director of Counseling at DebtWave Credit Counseling, and he really dives deep into what consumer credit counseling is, who it can benefit. And also tell us what the differences are between the multiple programs that are out there. We're super excited that you're here. Um , especially because Phil and I, we, you know, we've done a lot of these SWYM LIVE that we've been doing, and we've been doing presentations and there there's a lot of misconceptions on, you know , paying back debt, consumer debt, also the different types of programs that are out there , uh, that people can pay back debt and they, they kind of tend to get lumped together. Um, you've been in this industry a really long time , uh, as long as I have, I think, I mean, you're at least a decade in, right. If not more,

Carlos Perez:

Yeah. Some are a little bit more with , uh, with Antony over at Coastal. Uh, you know,

Chase Peckham:

That's why we were wanting to talk. I mean, so many people will , will contact us. I was doing an interview just the other day and even somebody who, who knows a person who knows as much about the credit industry and financial industry as this person did , uh, he even had a hard time knowing the difference between a consumer credit counseling organization and a debt settlement organization and who they work with. And that's why we really wanted to have you on as , as being somebody that has worked , um, in both sides of the equation and worked in the financial industry for so long is give us an idea of, of what consumer credit counseling, really is.

Carlos Perez:

Yeah. And you know, like, like you mentioned, chase, you're, you're dead on as far as the , uh, the terminology right. Consolidate and gets, gets embrace . And , uh, I guess it gets confusing , uh , after a while there's so much debt consolidation could, could mean a consolidation loan. It could mean a debt settlement plan. It could be an , a debt management plan. Um, so controlling your day is really broad term. And unfortunately, I think it does get confused a lot as far as specifics of what exactly that means , um, for us here at Debtwave, we , we do offer the debt management plan, the debt consolidation. Um, so with that being said, it's, it's a plan that isn't for everybody , um , by any means, you know, it's, it's for the people who ultimately are current with their payments , um, or no more than 90 days behind with their credit card payments. Okay. Why is that? Because a plan like a debt management plan like that way , um, we have arrangements with credit card companies, the initial banks that you may owe money to on the credit card. Correct . Um, and once you, you fall 90 days behind or more, a lot of times those debts are no longer with that original bank and they may go into collections. And so , um, a debt management plan typically doesn't have arrangement with collection agencies. We can work with them as far as taking payments for the consumer's behalf to make those payments for them. However, there's real, no concessions.

Chase Peckham:

Their's no benefit right?

Carlos Perez:

Yeah, there's no benefits. There's no benefit , there's no concessions. And at times it becomes a little bit more stressful for our consumer because on our plan, you are going to get it out within three to five years or less few times . Yes. Very, very fast compared to speaking to what they may be doing on their own. Um, so yeah, we do take those, those, those , um, the , uh, collection accounts. However, sometimes it may be more beneficial for the consumer to actually have that arrangement directly with the collection agency, because keep in mind three to five years, is it , like you mentioned, it's , it's a rapid pace to get out of debt. Um, but if you work internally with collection agency they may offer you a lower monthly payment and extend the plan for you to get out of debt with them internally.

Chase Peckham:

Right. And I guess, so what you're saying is the benefit really of a debt management plan is if it's with the original creditor, the real side of it is the lowering of interest rates and coming up with a plan that speeds up the process of paying it back in full, where you wouldn't necessarily have that with a collection agency. Correct?

Carlos Perez:

Correct.

Felipe Arevalo:

So with a three to five-year timeline , um, how is that accomplished? Because we talk to people all the time and they have, you know, they may even look at their credit card statement and say, wow, 20 years to pay this back. You know, how it has the little warning box , um, how does it work were it makes it so much faster?

Carlos Perez:

The first thing that we would look at is their interest rates, right? Obviously if you have higher rates that you're making payments on your own, the more money goes to the interest rates every month and a lot less goes towards the balances on monthly basis. Okay. So that's, that's that's issue. Number one, with DebtWave and any debt management plan out there are specific. Uh , I guess goal is to try to get those as long as we can, so that more money is going to the balances every month for the consumer and not the interest. So they kind of get swapped if you would, where most of the money goes towards the balances every month and not the interest going , going further, which also makes a huge difference compared to what they're doing on their own. Obviously, if you have a 20% interest rate, you know, and you're in , you're making a hundred dollars payments, you're going to be in that debt for quite some time. If you switch us around and you're actually have a 5% or 10% interest rate, making a hundred dollars payments, you know, you're going to , you're going to really speed up that process of you being in that debt. So their first objective is trying to get them to reduce that rate as much as the creditors allow us to do it on this plan. The second thing is, keep in mind that most debtors out there we're like robotics, right? We're we're like robots. So we , when we get that monthly minimum payment that is billed to us, all of us have, you know , electronic debits from our checking or savings account or, you know, electronic drafts, right? So, and when we put on there that all we want taken out is the monthly minimum payments. No matter what the balance is, all we want to pay is a monthly minimum payments . Well, if you're making monthly payments on a big interest rate, you may be making cents. Maybe even a few dollars to your balances every month,

Chase Peckham:

If that. Sometimes it could even be gaining. You might not even spend a dime, make the payment and your balance is going to go up. We've seen that.

Carlos Perez:

Right. So the way we do it here is we also want to make sure that we get a consumer into a payment pattern where they can mow on a monthly basis for the same monthly payment every single month. So it's like a credit card where you're making monthly minimum payments and only the monthly minimum . So these guys, we have an established, fixed monthly payment. So no matter what your balances are every month as they start to decrease, we still we're still making the same monthly payment you had when you initially started the plan. We had a much bigger balance. So as the creditors are being paid off, the smaller ones, first the payment we're sending to those creditors get rolled over to the ones who still have a balance on the plan. Does that make sense, Basically the next smallest one or the next account, whatever it might be gets even now a bigger payment, because one is dropped off. So their payment would, they're making the same payment every single month. No difference to them, but yet who's getting the money and how much they're getting every month can change based on what's been paid off. Correct? Correct. So that

Chase Peckham:

That's got to speed up the process super fast, right?

Carlos Perez:

Yeah. So, you know, you, you, you take that into consideration times . You know, typically our average rate here is about a 7% to a 9% average, you know , um, take that into consideration versus the 18 to 30% consumer has directly. Plus I fixed a monthly payment that would give them, I mean, it's just a huge difference. Comparative speaking to what they're paying on their own, how long they'll be paying this debt off for..

Chase Peckham:

Well you listen to that. I mean, 7% to 9% is your average. I mean, that's insane. You very, very, very few people can apply for a credit card and get anywhere close to single digits.

Carlos Perez:

Right.

Chase Peckham:

In fact, if you apply for a regular credit card now it's just by getting it, it's 15 to 18% right off the top. Right?

Carlos Perez:

Correct. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and we do have the misconception too, if I get mentioned earlier, as far as clients calling in and wanting a consolidation loan , right. Um, a lot of times are unfortunately there , we're just not educating consumers the right way. You know, we , we don't learn this in college. We definitely don't learn it in the high schools . So , um, you know, we try to educate those consumers as far as is a consolidation loan , really the best thing for you. And we started, you know , peeling the onion back a little bit further. Um , the further we go that back , the more we realize that a loan may not be the best option for most consumers out there. Um, typically speaking, a consolidation loan may offer you even higher rates than what a debt management plan may offer you. Like I mentioned earlier to you, 7 to 9% is our average, I think consolidation on average may be up to 12, 12% or higher. So consumer really has to be educated as far as is it worth me to have an 15% interest rate credit card and then take out an 18% consolidation loan to pay off the credit cards? Well, mathematics says it doesn't make sense. You're paying 2% more in interest rates, right? Two or 3% more. Um, so there , it's just, you know, really educating the consumer as far as that doesn't make much sense to pay more for, you know, to liquidate some debts off compared to speaking to you could do a debt management plan and get seven to 9% average and really take care of those detriments faster.

Felipe Arevalo:

And if someone has debt and they're struggling as far as, you know, the credit score is concerned. That's not really something they have to worry about, is it?

Carlos Perez:

No. In fact, with the , uh, with our services here, Felipe , um, the question is really irrelevant to us. Um, it's, it's obviously relevant if you're trying to get a loan, but with what a debt management plan does, is it credit score is really irrelevant. In fact, a lot of times when you get on our plan , um, you may see your credit score increase as your credit card payments are being made through us, because remember we're really going away. We're nitpicking that balances so much rapidly and so much quicker that your balances start decreasing faster. Thus that's getting you out of debt faster, which is going to be a huge credit increase as you go throughout the plan.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, 30% right off the top of that credit credit to debt ratio.

Carlos Perez:

Right absolutely.

Chase Peckham:

And not to mention that you're making your payment every single month and 35% of your credit score, your FICO score is making those payments on a regular basis every single month.

Carlos Perez:

Right.

Chase Peckham:

So just, just the plan in those two areas, that's gonna help the two biggest areas just by yourself on that plan is going to make that happen. And you said something earlier that made, made, I want to jump back to is with a consolidation loan. It dawned on me that that person may now have that new loan and they have all these paid off credit cards sitting there available to them. And it looks like I have no more credit card debt, right? Because I have zero balances every month. Right . Which in the human brain, you might just go, Hey, no more debt. Even though you've got that whole other loan over here and you're paying that every month, you're still looking at it going, I have nothing on my credit cards and what is the human being thing to do,

Carlos Perez:

Spend!

Chase Peckham:

Probably start spending on those credit cards again.

Carlos Perez:

Right. And you know, and when we do these counseling sessions too Chase. We do find that out. You know, we unfortunately do talk to consumers who we kind of educate them on what we offer and what a change it could make to their lifestyle financially. And, you know, they may decide to go out and get a , uh, an know consolidation loan, for example , um, oddly enough, you know, they, they may call us back a year or maybe nine months later or so, and are even in a worse situation than that were witness you spoke to us. Why? Because they got a loan , right? So they got this loan . They paid maybe not even all of the credit cards off with the loan. Sometimes these consumers take a portion of the loan. They receive pay off 80, 75% of their credit cards. And then they take that money and they may spend it elsewhere. And they don't refrain from using the credit cards. So now they've spent that money elsewhere. They're still have the credit cards, all been that they are still utilizing. Now they call DebtWave. And, you know, at some point it becomes where they cannot afford their monthly minimum payments with their credit cards. And then on top of that, with their loan, that they've, they've also opened up. So it becomes really challenging. It really takes a specific, a disciplined individual to really be able to handle those , uh , you know, the credit cards still being open and the loan still being , uh, something you , you you've been given to allocate that loan to the credit cards fully and refrain from using those credit cards as they still remain open. It's truly sad when that happens.

Felipe Arevalo:

And you mentioned something earlier, I wanted to kind of swing back to. You ensure that they can afford that minimum payment. How do you, how does one ensure that someone can afford that payment going forward? What steps.

Carlos Perez:

The last thing we want to do as DebtWave is get someone to a plan that may not be the best solution or a feasible option for them. So we go through, you know , the details, as far as your mortgage, your car payments , your car maintenance, your food, your groceries. It's a very detailed budget that we do for them along the way we give them advice, counseling advice , as far as, you know, what are you within this spending habit in this category within the norm of this category, right ? For example, if you have a $500 grocery bill, you're your household of one, that's a little excessive compared to speaking to what the norm would be for that it's usually $150 that you , the $150 per person that you want to kind of gauge . So we do educate consumers as far as where are the , where are they within those categories? You know, give them some great advice as , as we go through the budget as well. Um, then once we're done with the expenses, we go to the income, what makes sure that the income can support the expenses right? After all said and done, your monthly bills are paid and your, your expenses are , are , you know, are added up in your, in your income is also figured then , um, we try to determine whether what plans , the best plan for you is a debt management plan, or is there something else that maybe a consumer can do on their own to try and get a better handle on their finances? So it is something that we look at and it's definitely something that will detour us one way or another to see how this conversation may go with a consumer. Once again, we want to make sure that they can afford it/

Chase Peckham:

You mentioned peeling back the onion. That's really what you're doing is you're trying to find out and discussing and helping these people figure out what is the main issue here? Is it, it could be multiple things, right? It could be a spending problem. It could be just an income problem. It could be, you're just not making enough. Your expenses are too high. So you really, the counselors take the time to ask a lot of questions and listen a lot to what their situation is to make and determine what the best solution is for them.

Carlos Perez:

Absolutely. Yeah. You know, in life happens right. Chase, I mean, life happens. Um , not everything is rainbows and butterflies out there. So, you know, when life throws you a curve ball, your budget may feel that, right. I mean, look at this COVID-19 that we're going through right now. Um, you know, some people thought it was , would be 30, 60, 60 days until we're back and everything's back to normal again. Well , it's going almost to a year now, so it's , uh , it's scary.

Chase Peckham:

With no end in sight by the way.

Carlos Perez:

Absolutely. So a lot of people have been impacted , you know, in, in, in a very scary way, you know, not only financially, but also emotionally, mentally. Um, so we really want to be sensitive to that stuff. And, you know, at the end of the day, you know, once again, we , we do peel the onion back as much as we can to make sure that anything that we express a consumer is something that it's feasible and it's , it's something that's doable for them. Right. So, you know, your employer, your employment, your pay, all that stuff comes into consideration. Once we go through your options with you.

Chase Peckham:

Most people Felipe, wouldn't you say that the biggest issue is they really just don't even know where they stand. They just know they're struggling with their bills and their , and their , their balances aren't going down.

Carlos Perez:

Right, right, right. A hundred percent. Yeah. And unfortunately, like you guys mentioned, you know , most, most of us were when I started working at a DebtWave, I didn't even, you know, I don't even know a what a debt management plan was something that you could do, you know, it was very foreign to me.

Felipe Arevalo:

That makes two of us.

Carlos Perez:

Right. So , so obviously once again, we were not educated in that way in college or in high school. So it, it becomes scary. Right. Um, but yeah, it's , it's something we do take the time with. And we, we drop what is called a financial analysis report that we email to the consumer it's about seven pages long and highlights their situation, you know, in , in a visual format. So at that point, we're able to walk them through this via email. Um, and now even through zoom, we can offer zoom counseling sessions to clients so they can walk through the process with us, you know , um, live, if you would. And we do a highlight, you know, their expenses, what's going on with their creditors, how much you're paying to the creditors, what they, what they can continue to paid to happen, if they don't make a change and then also rely on information. So as far as what the DMP can do for them and compare and contrast what they're doing on their own, compared to what we could do for them . And ultimately now we get that information because when we initially talked to them, we do a soft credit inquiry with every client that allows us to do so. That way we can really get an educational piece as far as what the consumer's going through and how much your payments are, how much your interest rates may be. Um, and really kind of get, I guess, an educational session, as far as what the consumer may be happening, what they're going through at that moment and what may be the best solution for them as we go through the counseling session,

Chase Peckham:

Well that's a huge benefit considering that most people have very, very, very few people pull their own credit scores and have no clue that they have a credit report, let alone look at it. So that's really got to help. Oh gosh, I guess really peel back the onion.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah . Right . Not just that you might have an individual with a large number of credit cards with balances, spread out all over the place who think that , owe, I get this all the time. When I talk to someone. You know, a ballpark, how much do you owe on credit cards? And you get a number and then after you actually pull the credit, you look at it and you, you say, well , I'm you underestimated by thousands. Um , rarely is the other way around occasionally, right?

Chase Peckham:

Oh oh. Phil froze.

Carlos Perez:

We lost Felipe.

Chase Peckham:

Welcome to technology. It's not the first time that's happened. Uh, Carlos, you mentioned that there's different programs out there, and there's a huge information gap when it comes to the diff those different programs. Sometimes people come looking and they think that the , you know , they , they see these late night infomercials or they will hear it on the radio. And they'll say, if you owe the government more than $10,000, you can pay just half. Now. We, I would imagine that that all gets lumped into one program. What are the differences between what you, what we , what you have as a consumer credit counseling organization and a debt management program, and then something called debt settlement. W how are they different?

Carlos Perez:

Yeah. In like a month earlier, unfortunately, that just that term consolidation, that we all get bunched into the same barrel. Right. Um , and there's a huge difference, huge difference on what to expect from the programs. And also the , uh , I guess the effectiveness of the programs along with the risks involved with the programs as well , um, with a Debt management plan, such as DebtWave's, right? The , the credit counseling program, that management plan that we offer, you are paying your bills back on a hundred percent plus a little bit of interest to the creditors. We also maintain current with your, with your payments every month and payment is made to all the creditors on our plan. Right. And you do get out of debt within three to five years. So that's say that , I guess that's in a nutshell is really what the debt management plan is. Now on our plan, creditors are willing to help consumers get out of debt. This is why they're giving a.

Chase Peckham:

It's a collective effort .

Carlos Perez:

interest rate reduction, right. Which is why they're giving the , uh, you know, the , the clients , a huge interest rate reduction. But the creditors also want to make sure that consumers are also doing the best that they can. So creditors will require that the consumer does right . Help themselves get out of this credit card debt. And so they will have a consumer closes the card. So anything you add on a Debt management plan, the re requirements are the accounts have to be closed. Rightfully so.

Chase Peckham:

It makes sense to me.

Carlos Perez:

I mean, if you're serious about becoming debt free, you don't have some skin in the game on your own, right. And start making that sacrifice if someone's willing to help you do it compliment you on your efforts. Well , just put your in, you know, do something on your end as well, to compliment that.

Chase Peckham:

Well, I know if I loaned somebody money and I find out that they're out spending money on the side on something different after I loaned him some money, I don't think I'd find that favorable.

Carlos Perez:

Exactly, exactly. That's , that's a good way of putting it Chase good way of putting it. Um, so in that whole, that's what the debt management plan would do. Right. Um, and then on the other side of the fence, it's a debt settlement, vertical, or, or debt settlement plan with a debt settlement plan. It's very different. Um, there , you're actually encouraged to starve your creditors of payments. In other words, you're not making monthly payments to the creditor . What the whole objective there is. You want to show creditor that you can not afford to make them any payments to make any monthly payments at all. In the meantime your, your, your accounts are being charged off put in collections. Correct. And so in the meantime, you're going to start getting harassing calls. Sometimes even lawsuits can happen with a debt settlement plan, depending on the credit for the creditor situation. Also what your relationship with the creditor, the balances for the creditors are, et cetera, et cetera, every creditor may have different policies internally to determine whether that could be a potential lawsuit or not.

Chase Peckham:

And it depends on how much debt you owe.

Carlos Perez:

Right. Absolutely. Yeah. That could be part of their, I guess, criteria to try to figure out whether it's going to be a good, a good case for them or not. So you are encouraged to fall behind with your accounts with a debt settlement, vertical, either risk of that are, you know , being sued a garnish your wages. Uh, there could be some implications for the IRS as well. So typically on some of those plans, if you save a significant amount of money, the IRS may , uh, have that savings as taxable income for you at the end of the year.

Chase Peckham:

So if you were with your original creditor and you're just struggling to pay back debt , um, it sounds to me like you would want to be able to pay it back at a more affordable rate than just completely destroy your financial credit profile and have just a mere opportunity of being sued. So to me, that settlement sounds like it's good for somebody that's is already in collections.

Carlos Perez:

Right. Absolutely. And in fact , um, that would be someone that may or may want to go into that, that , uh, that vertical someone who is behind with their bills or who may or may have had a significant, real significant hardship where they don't foresee any light at the end of the tunnel, and they don't have any other options. Okay. So it may be a good option for them. However, a lot of times unfortunately, you may find that consumers are kind of persuaded to go into that plan, even when they are current with their bills.

Chase Peckham:

Right. So it's not counseling they're , they're just telling them about that program individually. And that's it

Carlos Perez:

Correct. It's yeah. It's not really counseling. It's more of a , you know, you have debt and , uh, you know, your, your, your best interests kind of get put aside, unfortunately. And , um, you know, you may be given advice that maybe ultimately may not have been the best for your particular situation.

Chase Peckham:

And unlike organizations like DebtWave, consumer credit counseling companies, or non-profit organizations, they are very highly regulated. Uh, and in fact, I would imagine, and they are very highly regulated within each state, correct. I mean, you have to be licensed to do what you do and in the state that you're in,

Carlos Perez:

Correct. Yeah. We get audited quite a bit. We just had one pass , uh , about a week and a half ago. So yeah, we , we do get audited quite a bit and not just from the regulators, but also the creditors. The creditors also audit us quite a bit , um , to make sure that we're on the up and up and that we are doing the best for their clients, because , you know, at the end they become mutual clients, right. The creditors work with us. And we're working with the creditors in the, in the , uh, the client is just, you know, the , the, the middle party, if you will , as far as working with both of us together at the same time, Unlike debt settlement where you're pretty much just working for the consumer. The creditors obviously don't like the debt settlement vertical.

Chase Peckham:

I would imagine they don't.

Carlos Perez:

Right? Well , the debt management plan, they're , they're actually, we it's, it's a team effort trying to help that consumer get out of debt together.

Felipe Arevalo:

So with , uh , with the consumers , you know , they're on the debt management plan, they're still getting correspondence from their creditor their account remains with the creditor, correct?

Chase Peckham:

Correctly Felipe. Absolutely. Yeah remember we're making monthly payments every month. In fact, the consumer will still get statements every month , um, email to them or mail to them where it does state that that DebtWave has made their payment for them. And they're going to see the reduce interest rate that the creditors giving them on our plan, along with the balance is decreasing as the payments are being made every month. So there is that safety net for consumer as well, to make sure that things are happening for them every month, they can verify that payments are being made through us Being a nonprofit organization. I would imagine that education is also a big deal. So between the counselors then there's, and we're out in the communities, those consumers, whether they're clients or not, but especially clients are able to call and ask questions and find out about anything they want to find out about outside of, well, let's say their stock portfolios.

Carlos Perez:

It's one thing to help a client get added debt with our debt management plan, but we also wanted an opportunity to help them stay out of debt after they've been, you know, after the pay everything off in our plan, how can we educate a consumer to try to get in, stay out of credit card debt going further going in the future? So we , we did , uh, implement a credit coach within DebtWave that actually , um, what they do is they actually call clients and or clients call them. And they're , they're entitled to free credit coach sessions, any as many as they like anytime during the plan and what they , the credit coach does is they pull their credit and then we'll give them advice as far as what they see either on the plan or off the plan with these clients. Give them great advice as far as, Hey, you know, maybe this is the account that you may, you may want to close, or maybe you may not want to open new credit lines right now. And I think it's real critical and important that we try to figure out what the client's objectives and what their goals are, which is what the initial counseling session does. And then we follow up with the credit coach session as well, to make sure that we're all aligned. If consumers looking to buy a house, anytime soon, our credit coach , uh, can give him the opportunity as far as what they advise the client to do, to position themselves, to be able to be a good contender for a good interest rate, and to be able to get the home loan that we all desire at some point or another.

Chase Peckham:

That's huge because that is so misunderstood. I mean, we , we, we literally just did our podcast right before we interviewed, you was talking about the myths versus the reality of credit scores and credit reports , uh, and how many misconceptions there are by people out there. So that's a huge resource for , for people.

Carlos Perez:

Absolutely. And, you know, just a misunderstanding too , you know , um , uh , a lot of , uh, people out there may assume that doing, a debt management plan is going to absolutely hinder their ability to do anything. Um, that is huge misunderstanding in fact. We have clients who are able to obtain and get home loans while they're on our plan. They purchase cars while they're on a plan. And, you know, some of them also do get credit cards, even though we discourage it. Um, they, they do a gather and get new credit cards from either the same bank for different banks while they're on the plan as well. So doing a debt management plan, isn't the end of your credit history or your credit profile, your credit future. It's something that is in place to get yourself out of credit card debt. The sooner the better is going to improve request for, as you go to position yourself or even a bigger purchase down the road, right? Because as a lender, a home lender, you don't want to see a client have a lot of outstanding credit card debt, right? So if we put that in a better position to get yourself out of that faster, it , you know, you can obtain that dream of yours, that , to hammer that home or that car you've always wanted much faster to position yourself at a , at a much better interest rate as well.

Chase Peckham:

A debt management plan , uh, is not , uh, any different from one consumer credit counseling company to another. Everyone plays by those same rules. So if you're a nonprofit where you're really getting the benefit of DebtWave is the customer service and the ability of our counselors to really help you through the process. But the plan itself, is no different from any of the other consumer credit counseling companies that are out there.

Carlos Perez:

That's correct. Chase. Yeah. And you absolutely hit the nail on the head. Um, we're , we're people and people want to be addressed as such, right. I , we all have feelings. We all have goals and objectives. So , um, in fact, in our customer service side, we actually allocated , um, depending on the state, you're , you reside in, you'll be assigned a specific , uh, customer service representative to take care of your accounts, why we want that. We want it to be personal . We want to make sure that the client that you're talking to is someone that you can understand them that, you know , um, embrace them , right. You know, a little bit of their history, you know, a little bit of their goals and their objectives as , as you have them on, you know , as a client. So it, it really, I think , uh, gets at home that family feeling as well, you know, we embrace ya. We're there to help you, let's get together and , and be a team and get, get you out of this credit card debt. You know, I hate when I call, you know, some of my providers and I tell someone one story, and then I'm transferred to another person telling the same story. It gets exhausting and frustrating. So with the way we do things is we , we try to make it where you tell a story one time to your assigned customer service rep, right? So when you call back, whether it be a month, two months or five months or a year later, you're going to get that same person. And they're going to remember who you are. And they , if you know, they're going to go, Hey, Chase, how was your, your, your daughter's soccer game, right? How was the Clay's baseball game? So it's really important that, that we give that sensation to consumer because that's how we want to be treated. Right.

Chase Peckham:

100%

Carlos Perez:

So yeah, absolutely, d efinitely s omething strive for

Felipe Arevalo:

You definitely can tell the difference, you know, as mentioned us, calling our providers for whatever the thing is

Chase Peckham:

There he goes again, speaking of which we need to talk to your , uh, your, your, your service provider for your internet, that hasn't happened in quite a while .

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah well I froze.

Chase Peckham:

Yes you did.

Felipe Arevalo:

So , uh, I need to make another call this time to my internet provider,

Carlos Perez:

Agreed.

Felipe Arevalo:

But you always get the, you know, you call, I just try was mentioning, you know, you trying to, I'm trying to cancel a device protection on something and it was minor. And it just made me run through so many loops. And it was just so difficult. Eventually I gave up, I called the credit card company to tell them to put a stop on it. And they were so nice to me. And it's such a difference when you talk to someone who's really like by name and.

Carlos Perez:

Right.

Felipe Arevalo:

And, you know, even if it's just have a conversation, how's your day going, you know, little things, and it makes such a big difference when you get off the phone and you say, Oh, wow, they were cool to talk to as opposed to, Oh man, they transferred me like five times and I didn't get anything done.

Carlos Perez:

Absolutely big difference. So make a long story, short Chase that that is the biggest difference is going to be the quality of service that you're given because the rates, the, the benefits, the concessions , um, it's a cookie cutter program. So they should all really be the same.

Chase Peckham:

That's really the difference that I've noticed Carlos, with your leadership, that , uh, you know, the counselors, the customer service reps , um, the service that they get, the , the listening that they get are second to none. Uh, and, and that's really the benefit of kind of, I don't want to say a mom and pop shop, but it's, you know, it's very family oriented, very family feel

Carlos Perez:

Correct. Absolutely. Yeah. You know, and like I said, we, we, you know, we , we, we were very grateful for the team members that we have. We've been blessed in many ways, and we just want to make sure that, you know , um, we also do the customers that same way, you know, that they're, they're amazing individuals. We all have a hiccups in life. Right. And, and we're not there to beat you down. We're there to help you get it back up and get you back in, you know, running down the road again and make sure that we , we take that burden off yet for the, for the debt side anyways. And, you know, try helping as much as we can with anything else that we can be good for you. But absolutely. Yeah.

Chase Peckham:

That's why Crystal is, there answering phones and coaching on credit, and Felipe's helping people even, you know, they may not have debt problems, but they can't figure out their finances. We're there to help that too. So I think that , that's the important thing, Carlos can't thank you enough for joining us today. And again, I hope you're safe. Uh, and your family Is good. And , uh, we get to see real soccer games here.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Right ? Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you guys for having me on board. My pleasure anytime . I know Felipe you've been trying to recruit me for quite some time. You got me.

Felipe Arevalo:

I finally got you on here! [Inaudible] .