ABI Wins Grant to Study Effectiveness of Credit Counseling Programs

ABI Wins Grant to Study Effectiveness of Credit Counseling Programs

Contact: John Hartgen
             (703) 739-0800
             [email protected]


February 23, 2007, Alexandria, Va. — The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) has received a grant by the Special Committee Consumer Protection and Education Fund (the Sears Fund) to study approved providers of pre-bankruptcy credit counseling. The ABI study is being designed and executed by the a group that includes Prof. Susan Block-Lieb of Fordham University Law School, Dr. Richard L. Wiener of the Law and Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska, and David Friedman of the New York-based Coalition for Debtor Education. 

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) established new credit counseling and debtor education requirements for consumers looking to file for bankruptcy and receive a discharge from debt. The ABI study awarded by the Sears Fund will focus on credit counseling programs now required under the new law.

To assist the study, the Fordham Corporate Law Center has agreed to host a closed-session business law roundtable on the credit counseling industry.   Leading industry players, federal and state regulators, and scholars will be invited to discuss the state of the industry, including implementation of the new law.  Information about the Center is available at http://www.fordham.edu/law/faculty/fisch/source.html.

A final report is expected during 2008.

The Sears Fund was established after the 1997 settlement of a 50-state enforcement action against Sears, Roebuck and Co. The Special Committee, staffed by representatives of three offices of the attorneys general, accepts grant applications aimed at enhancing consumer protections.

This is ABI’s second award from the Sears Fund. It also marks the third time that ABI has worked with Prof. Block-Lieb, Dr. Wiener and the Coalition for Debtor Education to fund their empirical research. The most recent product of ABI grant funding to these experts includes two articles on the effects of emotion on enhanced credit card disclosure requirements like those contained in BAPCPA:

Richard L. Wiener, Michael Holtje, Ryan Winter, Jasone A. Cantone, Karen Gross and Susan Block-Lieb,  Consumer Credit Card Use: The Roles of Creditor Disclosure and Consumer Miswanting, __ J. Appl. Psych. __ (forthcoming 2007)

Richard L. Wiener, Michael Holtje, Ryan Winter, Jasone A. Cantone, Susan Block-Lieb and Karen Gross,  Psychology and BAPCPA: Enhanced Disclosure and Emotion, 71 Missouri L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2007), available online at http://law.missouri.edu/lawreview/docs/71-4/Wiener.pdf.


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 11,500 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.