Charity Review

Issued: November 2012 Expires: May 2015

Accredited Charity


Meets Standards
(614) 552-2222 4500 East Broad Street, Columbus OH 43213-1360

Standards for Charity Accountability

  1. 1. Board Oversight
  2. 2. Board Size
  3. 3. Board Meetings
  4. 4. Board Compensation
  5. 5. Conflict of Interest
Measuring Effectiveness
  1. 6. Effectiveness Policy
  2. 7. Effectiveness Report
  1. 8. Program Expenses
  2. 9. Fund Raising Expenses
  3. 10. Accumulating Funds
  4. 11. Audit Report
  5. 12. Detailed Expense Breakdown
  6. 13. Accurate Expense Reporting
  7. 14. Budget Plan
Fund Raising & Info
  1. 15. Truthful Materials
  2. 16. Annual Report
  3. 17. Website Disclosures
  4. 18. Donor Privacy
  5. 19. Cause Marketing Disclosures
  6. 20. Complaints
  1. Conclusions
  2. Complaints
  3. Purpose
  4. Programs
  5. Governance & Staff
  6. Fund Raising
  7. Tax Status
  8. Financial
  9. BBB Comment
Conclusions Complaints

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

7 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 3 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 1
Billing/Collection Issues 0
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 7
Total Closed Complaints 7



To help people improve their financial well-being through counseling, community outreach and financial education.

Business incorporated: 02/11/1967 in OH

Also Known As: CCCS of Midwest, Inc , Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Midwest Inc. , Consumer Credit Counseling Service



According to information in BBB files, the organization's national name is Apprisen Financial Advocates, and in local communities the organization continues to do business as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).

CCCS is a non-profit debt counseling service supported by contributions. 
Services are available in person at the headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and in 60 local offices in 10 states - Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Washington, Oregon, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. l
Services are also available through counseling over the telephone and via the internet nationwide. 
CCCS does not charge a fee or ask for a contribution for the initial counseling session. 
If a consumer chooses to sign up for the Debt Management Program (DMP), CCCS asks for an initial sign up contribution and a small monthly contribution to help defray the cost of the program. 
The Debt Management Program services are also available if the consumer is unable or prefers not to contribute. 
CCCS Provides financial education workshops and seminars to community groups and organizations on a variety of topics such as budgeting, using credit wisely, understanding credit reports and scores, ID theft, and correctly managing checking accounts. 
CCCS is a HUD approved housing counseling agency and provides pre-purchase, delinquency and foreclosure prevention counseling. 
Reverse Equity housing counseling is also available. 
CCCS offers several other services and products to consumers and does charge for these services, including: 
- Credit Report Review during which a certified counselor will help them understand what is in their credit report. 
- Bankruptcy Counseling and education (Pre and Post) approved by EOUST (Executive Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustees) as required by the new bankruptcy legislation. 
- Contingency Planning for anyone contemplating bankruptcy to learn exactly what to expect. 
- Financial Health Kit which is a software based budget kit. 
- Identity Theft Session for clients who want to make sure no one has stolen their identity, and to learn what to do in case it has already happened. 
The purposes of Consumer Credit Counseling Service are: 
- To educate and counsel on budgeting and money management. 
- To help persons with debt problems develop a plan for repayment within their means and with cooperation of their creditors. 
- To help prevent money management problems by fostering education on the use of credit, on budgeting and money management. 
The following is an outline of procedures mostly used: 
- Step One. The potential client is informed of CCCS existence by friend, relative, social service agency, creditor, T.V. spot, or other interested organizations. 
- Step Two. The potential client calls CCCS for more information to schedule an appointment for an interview. 
- Step Three. When the prospective client calls, an appointment is scheduled at the earliest convenient time. He or she is told what to bring to the counseling session and given directions to the office. If the client prefers, a phone session will be scheduled and the counselor will call him or her back at that time. 
- Step Four. The counselor meets with the individual and obtains full information on the financial picture. This is a cooperative interview with much exploration and questioning. 
The counselor educates the individual on basic money management concepts pertinent to the situation and jointly develops an action plan that identifies options for resolving the financial picture that are in the person's best interests. 
The plan may include referrals to community resources. 
For some, the Debt Management Program may be an option and the counselor will work with the client to set up a reduced payment plan that complies with the creditors' requirements. A budget is established for the client that mirrors the income and expenses they presented to the counselor. 
If they have insufficient funds to enter into a DMP, they are given suggestions about how to reduce their expenses and ways to increase their income. 
If unable to establish a DMP, and if the client is still interested in CCCS's assistance, the counselor will work with them going forward until a DMP can be established. 
It is important to note that the repayment plan pertains not only to the existing principle, but also to the interest on their unsecured debt that will continue to accrue, so that when the DMP is successfully completed, the creditors included in the DMP will be paid in full. 
- Step Five. Upon completion of the interview, the counselor advises the applicant of the alternatives. If the applicant decides to participate in the CCCS program, he or she signs a voluntary agreement. 
- Step Six. On any involved cases requiring pro-rating in Debt Management Program, the creditors are contacted electronically and by mail and the situation explained to obtain their cooperation in acceptance of the plan set up. Most creditors want to be helpful and based on their established creditor policies, will accept a revision of payment if recommended by the counselor as part of a definite composite plan. After agreement, arrangement is established whereby the client deposits the agreed weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly amount directly to the CCCS office. 
- Step Seven. On a suitable disbursement date, the clients' funds are primarily disbursed electronically. In the event that the creditor does not accept electronic funds, CCCS makes out and mails checks to each of the creditors.

Governance & Staff

Board Chair: Mr. Richard C Belter, Consultant Business Affiliation: American Signature, Inc.

Board Size: 13

Staff: 184

Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Telephone Appeals Grant Proposals Other

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.


The following information is based on Apprisen's Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Saturday, December 31, 2011.

Source of Funds
Creditors' Fair Share $8,426,067.00
Client Fees $6,458,359.00
Counseling And Presentations $2,212,678.00
Contribution Received (Yakima Acquisition) $563,878.00
Contributions $233,250.00
Processing Income $41,524.00
Miscellaneous Income $33,267.00
Investment Income (Loss) Net ($236,767.00)
Total Income: $17,732,256.00
Fusion Chart
Program Expenses: $14,630,193.00
Administrative Expenses: $2,986,069.00
Total Expenses: $17,616,262.00
Expenses in Excess of Income: ($115,994.00)
Beginning Net Assets: $12,293,670.00
Ending Net Assets: $12,465,782.00
Total Liabilities: $5,049,761.00
Total Assets: $17,515,543.00

According to the charity, "...Apprisen does not have traditional fundraising activities. [The charity does] not actively solicit contributions as part of fundraising campaigns. As a result, we do not have any clearly identifiable expenses associated with the contributions. They are more spontaneous in response to the work we have done in the community and from grateful program graduates, as well as 'fair-share' contributions received from creditors for administering the Debt Management Program" (Related contributions, which totaled $9,233,195 are donations received as a result of fundraising activities.)

BBB Comment

A BBB Accredited Charity since  05/19/1981.  BBB has determined that in addition to meeting BBB's 20 Standards for Charity Accountability, Apprisen adheres to the BBB Code of Business Practices, which includes a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any complaints.  Charities that display the BBB Accredited Charity Seal pay a fee for review / monitoring and for support of BBB's services to the public. BBB accreditation does not mean that the charity's programs or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB or that BBB has made a determination as to the charity's competency in performing services."

Apprisen is headquartered in Central Ohio and conducts business online and from several office locations nationwide. Our BBB office in Columbus, OH processes complaints concerning all Apprisen locations nationwide, and the scope of this Charity Report covers all Apprisen locations nationwide.

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

Standards Legend

  • Meets Standards IconMeets Standards
  • Standards Not Met IconStandards Not Met
  • Did Not Disclose IconDid Not Disclose
  • Review in Progress IconReview in Progress
  • Unable to Verify IconUnable to Verify