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News Release

Digging beneath the surface helps consumers succeed in debt repayment

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 -- For Immediate Release

Calgary - Almost $60 million in consumer debt has been repaid by 7,462 Albertans with help from Credit Counselling Services of Alberta Ltd. (CCSA) over the past eight years. Client success rates continue to be improved through close relationships and two research projects that were outlined at the agency's annual general meeting on Tuesday, March 28th.

"CCSA is dedicated to helping Albertans successfully manage their personal finances," says Fran Smith, Executive Director of CCSA. "We recognize that only through research will we know whether we're moving in the right direction, and the results we're seeing are very encouraging."

As the exclusive provincial provider of the Orderly Payment of Debts program (OPD), CCSA has reduced the default rate of clients on the program to 15 per cent since opening its doors in May, 1997. The success is attributed to a number of factors, including extensive screening/assessment and more counsellor support. As well, a long-term client study which began in 2003 helps reveal changes in clients' attitudes as they progress through the program. After two years, results show an increase of almost 40 per cent who feel they know how to manage their money and a 32 per cent increase in those accepting some responsibility for their current financial situation.

Another research project discussed on Tuesday looks at OPD clients who had taken on short-term loans through the payday lending market (PLM). This study, funded by Industry Canada and conducted by The Support Network and CCSA, shows that these clients have a greater risk of defaulting from the program and that additional services helped their success rates.

The OPD program is only one way CCSA has helped the 143,524 Albertans who have contacted them for help in managing their money. Through workshops, individual counselling, workbooks and tip sheets, the web site and free information line, CCSA helps Albertans make positive lifestyle changes for a brighter financial future.

Special guest speakers at Tuesday's AGM included Pran Bahl, president of Credit Counselling Canada and Honourable Ty Lund, Minister of Government Services. The event took place from 4:30 to 6:30 in the Centennial Room of The Westin, Edmonton, 10135 - 100 Street.

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For more information, contact:

Diane Rennie Marketing & Community Relations Manager
Calgary office: (403) 234 - 6184

Lily Nichols Communications Coordinator
Credit Counselling Services of Alberta
direct: (403) 234-6198

Suite 225, 602-11 Avenue SW
Calgary Alberta Canada T2R 1J8
Toll free 1-888-294-0076
Fax (403) 265-2240
Website www.creditcounselling.com

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