BoLT is a partnership between Clarifi (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), applying behavioral economics principles to increase the financial capability of low- moderate income individuals and families struggling with consumer debt. Clarifi and IPA will conduct a randomized control trial in which a sample of clients who join the Debt Management Plan (DMP) to repay debts through Clarifi will receive peer support and/or regular reminders to stick to budgets and DMPs. For example, a portion of clients will select up to five peer supporters, such as friends or family members to referee their progress on a DMP. Peer supporters will receive updates on client progress, including notifications when clients miss a scheduled debt payment. Additionally, Clarifi will test the impact of regular text message reminders on DMP outcomes, testing variations of messaging content (e.g., a focus on tasks, plans, or end goals) in order to determine the optimal design of the messages. Clarifi and IPA hope that these interventions will assist participants in committing to the DMP, paying down debt, increasing credit scores and improving financial health.
The mission of Clarifi is to positively impact individuals, families and communities through comprehensive consumer credit education, counseling, asset building and debt reduction programs, without regard to economic status. Clalrifi has been helping low-to moderate-income local residents make positive changes for more than 40 years, and assisting with debt repayment through one-on-one counseling and the DMP has been the cornerstone of its programming since 1966. In 2010, Clarifi is expecting to provide more than 5,000 debt repayment counseling sessions and place more than 450 clients on DMPs. Clarifi has 1,321 clients currently on the DMP, and expect 260 clients to become debt-free during 2010, with an additional 100 becoming able to handle debts independently.