Logo Groupe CRESUS (association, fondation)

Help to get out of over-indebtedness thanks to personalise help.

Summary : The councillors of the CRESUS association which accompanies indebted people step by step by suggesting budgets and solutions such as rescheduling their debts, in order to avoid social exclusion and becoming stuck in situations of long term indebtedness.

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  • Groupe CRESUS (association, fondation)
  • 25, rue de Lausanne - B.P. 8
  • Employees : 30
  • Volunteers : 600


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  13/10/2016 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : High impact ! Innovative !
Solution(s) : social economy
Country :  France, Grand Est
Stature of the programme :  National
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Universal, Bottom Of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Domain :  Energy, Budget

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Poverty France » (2016)

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Pekkip Maxime , « Help to get out of over-indebtedness thanks to personalise help. », **Journal RESOLIS** (2016)

Background to the programme

CRESUS (Regional Chamber of Social Indebtedness) has been created in 1992, by starting from the assessment that there was a critical lack of help for indebted people and that no one listened to them as in the banks time is counted for each dossier. The association has therefore been created to make up for this deficiency and to create a service that didn't exist but could be the difference.

Objectives of the programme

- To provide administrative, economic, legal and social aid to indebted households until the reimbursement of their debts is complete.
- To avoid social, familial and economic rupture and the situations of definitive exclusion.
- To make sure that the parties involved in an indebted household work together.

Implemented actions

SUPPORT: the beneficiary is close to being in debt, in a fragile economic situation and benefits from budgeting advice and being listened to.
SUPPORT AND MEDIATION: the beneficiary is in significant debt, has several creditors and benefits from a rescheduling of their debts and budgetary advice.
OVER INDEBTEDNESS: the beneficiary is over-indebted and can no longer cope, they benefit from support while the dossier of over indebtedness is handed in to the Bank of France.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

In 2012:
- 128 700 consultations with diagnosis of problems and giving direction.
- 22 300 complete budgetary diagnosis including:
. 15 546 helped with the make up of a dossier of over indebtedness.
. 2 926 PRP support
. 3 545 grace periods or suspensions of payments
. 1 125 bank mediations
. 4 750 tax relief
. 1 274 legal liquidations
- 65 300 plans for debt relief being monitored
- 7 380 demands for personal micro credit including:
. 1 380 dossiers instructed
. 415 beneficiaries helped
- 23 900 hours of budgetary training

Original characteristics

Over-indebtedness most often arises from a poor understanding of the banking system. This program is innovative as there is a real lack of personal, long term support by professionals from the sector for people in debt who have often given up on themselves and run the risk of finding themselves in a situation of exclusion, not only financially but eventually, socially as well.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

- With the banks: negotiation of the rescheduling of loans.
- 116 local welcome points situated in town halls, association centres, MJD, etc.
- Construction of an online portal "Actor-Social" of information and advice, accessible to public and private actors dealing with the legal; economic and social problems of over indebtedness.
- Setting up of a "Platform of budgetary assistance and coordinated mediation" in partnership with financial establishments and big business with the preventative aim of guiding fragile clients towards CRESUS.


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

Being a pioneering and innovative organisation, we have had to face general scepticism at the beginning. Thanks to the first partner who had faith in us, general enthusiasm has followed from there. We have begun small, in an experimental way. We have had to create everything from the beginning, from computer software to the structure of the legislative environment. Some problems have has to be regulated according to the cultural and ethical differences between the banks and the social organisations, between secret banking and confidential aspects of the clients. We have had to adapt to the needs of the beneficiaries and the partners, in order to not finish up in a risky human and financial position.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

To maintain a high level of quality and face up to the growing needs of our partners in order to attract new people.
We have trained a team: 12 people who work full time on the platform in close collaboration with the partners. Our team is made up of former employers from the banking world and are specially trained in giving advice.

Suggestions for future improvement :

- Creation of partnerships to eventually create help in kind for the beneficiaries in energy poverty (housing and mobility).
- Extension of the network and treatment of a greater number of dossiers (forecast: up to 64% increase in North Pas de Calais).
- Objective 2015: to have 4 times as many counsellors (12 in 2013, forecast 2015: 48) and to have helped 25 000 dossiers.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

- Active listening.
- To make people conscious of the gravity of the situation.
- To obtain the agreement of the person receiving training of the management of their budget.
- To demonstrate interest in realising and following a budget.
- To formulate recommendations with tools and a method and to assure that they are followed.
- To train and inform the public as much as possible.
- To create strong partnerships with different actors from the economic and social worlds.

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