Consumer News & Views
In this Issue…
Consumer Confidence Rebounds. Is the Economy Improving?
Thomas Hinton, president of the American Consumer Council, stated “Consumers are feeling better about their near-term economic prospects as more businesses are hiring and there are more economic opportunities for middle-class consumers.”
Despite the severe winter weather throughout much of the country and the drought in the western United States, the key economic indicators observed by the American Consumer Council -- job growth, rising income and GDP – are trending upwards for the first time in years. Hinton noted, “We’re confident this trend will continue and we’re hopeful that Congress will act to raise the minimum wage and loosen credit limits to help consumers borrow more money.”
rateGenius Helps Consumers with Low Auto Loans.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, rateGenius started in 1999 and has been named one of Austin’s fastest growing companies and Top Workplaces in 2012 and 2013. The company tripled in size between late 2011 and 2013, which has allotted more savings opportunities for customers.
With its more than 200 nation-wide lender network, vehicle refinancing through rateGenius affords the customer the opportunity to lower their monthly payment. Customers can expect a 24-48 hour turnaround time to refinance their autos, motorcycles, RV or boats. Vehicle refinance offers exceptional rate savings, while lowering your car payment. RateGenius not only provides customers with an average 5.15% interest rate reduction, but our customers also enjoy savings over an average of $81/month on their car payment. We will assist you in finding the best rate, term and payment for refinancing your auto loan. Take advantage of our promotion offering up to 60 days until your next payment, and use that savings toward other expenses.
The rateGenius Insurance Agency, with multiple nationwide carriers like Progressive and MetLife, is one of Texas’ largest independent insurance brokers. The Insurance Agency assists customers with finding the best insurance rates available for life, health, homeowners, vehicle and more.
rateGenius Mortgage Services is an up-and-coming branch of the company. Started in 2013, rateGenius Mortgage Services offers customers help with home purchase, different refinance options and pre-approvals.
The financial services offered by RateGenius is a streamlined process competitively deigned to find the best rate possible to save customers money, while keeping your best interest in mind. Our streamlined process offers the opportunity to save money without having to pay any fees to rateGenius.
To start saving visit rateGenius.com. We also offer a referral program. Feel free to send us questions and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn under the name rateGenius.
Vehicle Refinance: 1.866.728.3436
What You Need to Know About the New Health Care Law? We’ve been researching various websites that clearly explain the new Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Here are some excellent answers to key questions and one website we recommend for clear answers: http://www.yourhealthcaresimplified.org/questions/
What is the New Health Care law?
The only people who won’t have to buy health insurance or pay a penalty are:
What do I need to do now?
If you have health insurance but want a more
affordable plan, start keeping basic records about your household income and
spending. You may be able to receive discounts or financial help when buying
coverage for next year. You will need to provide income information when you
apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Do you have a favorite doctor? Would you choose one hospital above all others, whether for routine testing, emergency care—or to deliver your baby? Do your research today for 2014 and the future. Then choose an insurance plan that will continue to cover care at the highest quality doctors and facilities.
CFS2 Earns ACC’s Friend of the Consumer Award Gold Level Award.
The American Consumer Council is pleased to recognize CFS2 as a 2014 Gold-level recipient of its prestigious Friend of the Consumer Award. CFS2 is a family-owned company that uses a nurturing approach to help its consumer-clients resolve their debt issues and restore their credit and good name. CFS2 was featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes as the “exception to the rule in the debt collection business.” The family members each understand that “bad things can happen to good people” and have been exactly where you are today. CFS2 understands.
Bill and Kathy Bartmann, the founders of the company, were deeply in debt due to the failure of an oil-related business after the price of oil plummeted in the 1980s.
Because they personally had been hounded by predatory debt collectors, Bill and Kathy vowed they would find a better way.
Believing they could make a difference, Bill and Kathy started a small agency. True to their promise, Bill and Kathy never treated customers the same way they had been mis-treated. They treated customers with dignity and respect, and quickly discovered that most of those customers wanted to find a way to pay back their debts if only someone would work with them instead of hounding.
In the years since 1986, Bill, Kathy, and their team have successfully used debt discounting to help more than 4.5 million American families get rid of the debt that so often tears the family apart.
They even won the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics. Imagine that – a collection agency winning awards from the Better Business Bureau. Also, Bill Bartman has been nominated for the Nobel Prize.
Though the world has changed a lot in the last quarter century, the family-owned approach to helping people out of their debt problems has not changed. It's still firmly rooted in the insistence that customers must always be treated with dignity and respect and in the belief that giving customers a chance is a rewarding proposition.
If you are serious about cleaning the debt mess in your life and want to find financial stability, CFS2 is who you want on your side.
Each year, ACC awards numerous "Friend of the Consumer" Awards to deserving companies and organizations because they have "demonstrated a commitment to American consumers by providing a specific product or service that fosters consumer confidence and market acceptance."
To apply for the "Friend of the Consumer"
award, complete the online application and return it to ACC with the application
fee. Applicants will be notified within 5 days of receipt of their application.
Thereafter, a panel of independent judges will review your application and make
a formal recommendation within 45 days of receipt of your award application.
American Consumer Council Complete Regional Office Expansion with Addition of Connecticut and Long Island Offices. In January, the American Consumer Council (ACC) added two new regional offices in Mystic, CT and Uniondale, NY to bring its 2014 regional office expansion total to 18 offices. ACC’s physical office locations now include: Beaverton, OR; Springfield, MA; Mystic, CT; St. Paul, MN; Uniondale (Long Island), NY; Silver Spring, MD; Lexington, Kentucky; Atlanta, Georgia; Little Rock, Arkansas; Phoenix, AZ; Philadelphia, PA; Salt Lake City, UT; Metairie, Louisiana; Tampa, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and, Columbia, South Carolina.
ACC continues to operate its three national service centers in Newark, NJ; El Segundo, CA; and the Washington, D.C. area. ACC is headquartered in San Diego, California.
Over the past year, ACC has created 12 new regional offices at various locations to better serve the needs of its growing membership and support its network of 44 state consumer councils. The American Consumer Council’s Washington, D.C.; Newark, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; Lexington, KY; and, Los Angeles, California offices have been in operation for several years:
Transamerica Financial Solutions Group serves the financial institution market with loan protection products, reinsurance solutions and related services. Our mission is to market the industry’s most innovative insurance programs and deliver effective marketing, professional training and support to help our partners maximize profitability while reducing costs and improving service.
Transamerica is an AEGON company, a multinational insurance organization headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands. AEGON is one of the world's leading life insurance and financial services organizations. Transamerica markets the quality products of AEGON's affiliated insurance carriers and utilizes the resources and expertise gained from diverse products and distribution channels. With a portfolio that includes credit and mortgage insurance, debt cancellation, reinsurance solutions and related products, Transamerica can tailor products that strengthen your financial institution while protecting customers’ loan obligations.
Transamerica utilizes the following AEGON company carriers that are rated by A.M. Best Company, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service based on financial strength and operating performance.
Transamerica has an outstanding track record of supporting credit unions and other financial institutions. Transamerica is also a corporate sponsor of the American Consumer Council.
For more information, please contact Transamerica Vice President Tom Kazar at: http://www.transamericafinancialsolutions.com/contact_us.html
ACC Annual Meeting Scheduled for Friday, June 13. The annual meeting of the American Consumer Council will be held on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 10:00 am PST. This year’s meeting will be held during a teleconference call to accommodate more members who wish to participate. All voting members are invited to participate in the annual business meeting via teleconference services. There is no cost to participate.
To register to participate in this online annual meeting, please email the ACC office to request the password for access to the conference call at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual meeting will discuss business matters pertinent to the management and operations of the American Consumer Council and review activities and issues during the past 12 months.
Green CSM Certification Accepting Applications for 2014 Spring Cycle:
If your company or organization would like to increase its credibility with consumers, you should consider applying for the Green CSM Certification. Applications for the 2014 Spring cycle are now being accepted through March 31, 2014.
It's a proven fact that consumers want to do business with companies that are eco-friendly and practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The process is straight-forward and all applicants are recognized by ACC and the Green USA Institute.
All applicants complete the criteria and submit their responses to ACC's Green Consumer Council for review, assessment and feedback. Program details and the Green CSM Certification criteria can be viewed at ACC's website located at: http://americanconsumercouncil.org/greenc.asp