Meeting the Demand for Debt Relief
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
August 1, 2011
FRB of Philadelphia - Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper No. 11-04
Each year, millions of financially distressed consumers in the U.S. face a difficult choice among the debt relief options available to them. This paper describes the options available to borrowers who seek assistance in managing their debts and discusses the information and incentive problems associated with these options. It also reviews the trends that contributed to the breakdown of the repayment framework and the responses to these trends. Among the responses is a reconsideration of the regulatory structure of the debt relief industry. The paper concludes with a discussion of the importance for debt relief providers and policymakers to evaluate the efficacy of workout options and to develop a deeper understanding of how consumers make decisions about incurring and repaying debt.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: household finance, consumer credit, screening, credit counseling, debt settlement, incentives, regulation, credence good, consumer financial decision making
JEL Classification: D11, D14, D18, D82, G28working papers series
Date posted: August 11, 2011
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