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Credit Counseling of Arkansas Connects Arkansans to Mainstream Financial Services
/ November 19, 2018
Alden Napier brings more than just a positive attitude and strong leadership to his role as executive director for Credit Counseling of Arkansas. He can personally testify to the surprises that life can bring and the importance of smart financial planning.

When Napier was young, his family lost three businesses in the span of a year, leaving them to rely heavily on others in their community. This taught Alden and his siblings about the importance of access to financial services within a community, especially when families are facing uncertainty.

Today, Napier leads a nonprofit agency founded on education and leadership that helps people conquer their debt and create smart financial habits for their future. Through the services provided by expert staff members and a large network of volunteers, CCOA connects people to mainstream financial services so they can experience stability and financial freedom — at a very low cost.

“A community will be in a better position to thrive when they have help repaying their debts,” said Napier. “That’s what we’re here to do — get people out of debt.”

CCOA’s product is debt consolidation and they work with creditors to recover delinquent accounts. In turn, creditors pay them 4 cents on the dollar for every dollar recovered — allowing them to further their mission and provide more services.

“Our priority is education,” said Napier. “We’ve given away nearly 2,000 free appointments last fiscal year because we’re here for community members — we want them to succeed.”

While the industry average is 25 minutes, CCOA schedules appointments by the hour. “A lot of people have a hard time discussing their financial decisions. Everyone who walks through our doors is treated with compassion and paired with a staff person who is ready to listen and provide the necessary steps to move forward,” said Napier.

Not only does CCOA deploy compassion through their staff, they have a network of professional volunteers who are trained and ready for action when any opportunity arises. Volunteers serving as educators are part of the “Community Action Board,” a group that is ready to respond when nonprofits and other community groups need financial training for those they serve.

“When a nonprofit approaches CCOA to deliver a training or speak to their clients, we call on a member from the Community Action Board to present,” said Napier. “Oftentimes they’re a banker or a retired attorney and they’re the ones delivering those meaningful messages of financial freedom.”

Napier went on to stress the importance of having bankers on the volunteer board because they’re able to deliver the message of “let me teach you the basics,” decreasing the stigma about banks and changing attitudes about the services they’re providing to communities.

Nonprofits like NWACC, Havenwood, Peace at Home and Returning Home are some of the organizations CCOA has partnered with to provide these trainings and services. Approaching its 21st anniversary, the CCOA team is like a family, reminding Napier of his own experiences at such a young age. 

“My family was surrounded by such a compassionate, capable community when we faced hard times,” said Napier. “I was the beneficiary of very generous and highly-skilled people and that’s something that CCOA is working hard to provide to Arkansans.”

You can learn more about CCOA and the services they provide at a very low cost by visiting CCOACares.com.



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