Corey Butcher for CDRI Leadership

January 12, 2023

Video Transcript

Speaker: Corey Butcher

What is the lineage of the debt settlement industry?

Corey Butcher: So what is the lineage of the debt settlement space? As many of you know, the debt settlement space started in the late 1990s, where a few companies emerged in the early 2000s. But we really saw a rush to the industry, partly because it was an unregulated industry between 2006 and 2009, where we saw more than 2300 companies enter into the space. Now, obviously with so many rushing to the industry, many of those companies had no idea how to perform that settlement services. And due to the lack of regulations, you simply just had to have a heartbeat and a telephone line to enter the space. That became very, very problematic. Um, we did see a rush to the business and the rush of the demand due to the financial crisis that happened in 2009, which put a lot of American consumers right in the crosshairs of debt settlement companies that weren't, you know, the best companies. Obviously that that resulted in highly regulation that resulted in the TSR rule of 2010, that really reset the whole industry as a whole. Today, as we fast forward to 2023, we're still dealing with the reputation and the the effects of the reputation of what happened back in those days. We still see it from regulators, we still see it in misconceptions, we see it, myths, we see the misunderstandings where many regulators will still fall back to what it was like, pre TSR days. We know the industry has evolved tremendously. The biggest thing that we need to understand though, as we enter in this next bullish area of our industry or timeframe due to the economic climate is, we don't want to once again result in another TSR type rule. This is the time that we can take control of the lineage of the debt settlement industry, reframe it and US become the industry that helps consumers get through this next economic or this next hard time in the economic climate, and really reframe what the industry is about. So the only way we can do that, though is we have to know what the lineage is, understand what the lineage is, and improve the industry from here on out.

How has the industry evolved?

Corey Butcher: You know, the industry has evolved so much and it's so, it's so refreshing to look back and see where we were and where we are today. You know, back in the 2008-2009 period, there were no real regulations. The refreshing thing is today, now we can go get licensed with more than 32 states, which is such, you know, a benefit to how we operate in the business. The other is, back then you could never find a debt settlement company, that was accredited with the BBB because the BBB didn't recognize our industry. Now today we have hundreds of companies that are accredited and A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau. And then the other is, you know, if you just see the impact that we are impacting lives every day. When you go in and you look at these companies that have thousands of reviews. Five star reviews are averaging 4.6, 4.7, 4.8 on the high, like Google and stuff like that. But then if you just go in and click on some of those reviews and you see the actual impacts that we're having on lives and families that actually help people reset financially. And and how much stress it takes off of them and how much we're improving the mental health in these individuals and not only in the individuals that are writing the reviews, but their whole family. So, you know, the industry has evolved to really become, not just a fly by night companies that try to get in and make a quick buck, but we've really evolved into, we're now creating generational transformation to where we can look at our businesses and say these businesses will be operating for generations to come and helping thousands and millions of Americans give them a light at the end of the tunnel and achieve that financial independence. So the industry, if you think about how it's evolved in the last 15 years, has went from something that was probably not gonna be here to now very sustainable that's offering just amazing results for the American consumer.

How do you want to see the industry evolve over the next five years?

Corey Butcher: So we know how we have evolved over the last 15 years as we just talked about, but how are we and what is the vision of how do we want to evolve over the next five years plus? And I think now is the time that we go and we change the narrative in our space. So many times, our industry has been reactive. If we have a regulatory threat in North Carolina, regulatory threat in California, regulatory threat that's coming up in New York, we all rush to it and we try to defend ourselves and say, hey, you know, we're the good actors here. This is what we're doing. We need to rethink that I believe as an industry. We need to go on the offensive and really create a robust branding to really rebrand the space of what we're doing for these consumers. And so I think this is the time now, one I think is so important now to change that narrative and really get out in front of maybe potential regulatory threats to the space is because we know we're in a time right now where over the next 2, 2 1/2, 3 years, we're gonna see a lot of consumers need the services of debt settlement companies. And we're gonna see an increase, like we have never probably seen before of the amount of clients that we're servicing. While we're doing that, we need to make sure that we're telling everybody what the good works we're doing and how we're helping these consumers really get through these challenging times and reframe and change the narrative for the space once and for all. That's gonna be aligning with coalitions, that's going to be putting together a very data rich research. Research booklets that we can go out there and give to regulators, we can go out there and give to our lobbyist to go out there and inform the public of what really debt settlement/ debt resolution is. So, I think we have a big task ahead of us over the next five years, but I really think what that's gonna do is build this industry stronger and better and continue to build on what we've built over the last 13 years since the TSR rule was enacted. So really excited over the next five years. I think we got a lot of things to accomplish, but I know we can all accomplish them is as an industry, we get together and we start making it a mission of ours to change the narrative in the space.

What does the industry mean to you?

Corey Butcher: You know, the what debt settlement means to me. It gives us a chance to give people hope. It gives people a chance that maybe didn't have a plan. We have a plan for now, it gives them immediate relief when they come into one of our programs from the first day that the fact that they came in before our call had no idea how to deal with their debt, didn't have a solution. And we can give them that solution providing that solution. Just thinking about once they have that plan, it immediately changes their day to day life. The way they're interacting with their spouse, the way they're interacting with their kids, the way they can function better at work, the way they can function better and they're just their personal life. And then as they go through the journey, actually starting to see debts paid off and starting to see their debt balances go down and then when they lead to graduation or they can graduate. Now, it's just like you've lifted so much weight off their shoulder and now they can really focus on setting up the rest of their lives getting themselves to financial independence, paying for their kids to college, starting to save for retirement, and just giving them that vision and giving them that hope. And so that's one thing that I love about the industry that we're in, is that every day we get to wake up to help people and impact people's lives. And not only hopefully the clients that we're helping that join our programs, but also our teams. As we are educating our teams to help educate our clients, their lives are also being impacted and changed by what we do every day. So what it means to me is that we're getting a lot of people hope we're getting a lot of people plans, and having them reach financial independence.

What is your company's mission/vision statement?

Corey Butcher: At DebtBlue, our mission is to know our client's situation, understand our client's situation and sympathize with what they're dealing with as far as their financial hardship. We want to be that guiding light to help our clients on this journey that they're going through to deal with their debt. We know that there's times where clients can feel overwhelmed and just feel like this is just an insurmountable task in front of them. But we know through our partnership with our clients, we'll give them the confidence, And we'll give them be that guiding light that leads into a brighter future.

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