Fight against overndebtedness through detection and coordinated support with financial institutions

Summary : The counselors of CRESUS, a platform for preventing over-indebtedness, helps financial institutions to detect their precarious clients, then after a handover, support them step by step by suggesting budgets and solutions which reorganise their debts. This is done in the fight against over-indebtedness and to avoid social exclusion and becoming locked into situations of long term over indebtedness.

Share this report



  • 25, rue de Lausanne - B.P. 8
  • Employees : 12
  • Volunteers : 60


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  07/07/2014 00:00
Solution(s) : Fuel poverty
Country :  France, Grand Est
Stature of the programme :  National
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Universal, Bottom Of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Domain :  Employment, Energy, Budget

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Energy Poverty »

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Pekkip Maxime , « Fight against overndebtedness through detection and coordinated support with financial institutions », **Journal RESOLIS** (2014)

Background to the programme

CRESUS (Regional Chamber of Social Over-indebtedness) a platform for the prevention of over-indebtedness, has been created in 2009, beginning from the assessment that with a complete diagnosis by professionals and detention in advance by financial institutions, the spiral of debt could be broken. CRESUS has been created in 2009 with LBFP and LASER COFINOGA and now has 25 partners who have detected and handed over more than 14 000 beneficiaries.

Objectives of the programme

- To detect precarious clients as early as possible before the situation becomes irremediably compromised.
- To provide adminstrative, economic, legal and social support and to help indebted households until the complete reimbursement of their current loans.
- To avoid social, familial and economic rupture and situations of permanent exclusion.
- To propose a concrete alternative and to involve other economic actors in a socially responsible process which benefits their clients in difficulty.
- To create an information base so as to better understand the origins of over-indebtedness and to improve the sense of control over risk.

Implemented actions

For the beneficiaries.
Three types of support.
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.

For the partners.
- Qualitative and quantitative reports
- Specific studies carried out
- Training of employees
- Adjustment of methods of detection by making an inventory of good practice and by refining the use of typologies.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

Pilot phase 2010/2013 - 10 000 dossiers treated of which 30% closed, 43% of beneficiaries were the object of a dossier of over-indebtedness or a demand for a delay, 14% a meditation, 43% budgeting support sufficient to re-establish them. Only 2% of beneficiaries were the object of a reactivation after their certified re-establishment.

2011 (2 counselors and office support)
2012 (6 counselors = office support)
2013 (12 counselors + office support + training team) 5 000
Projected growth
2014 (24 counselors + office support + training team) 10 000 dossiers
2015 (48 counselors + office support + training team) 25 000 dossiers
2016 (96 counselors + office support + training team) to reduce by 33% the over indebtedness in France) 50 000 dossiers

Original characteristics

Advice given by the financial institutions is a major innovation in this program. Furthermore over indebtedness most commonly arises from a poor understanding of the banking system. There exists a real lack of personal and long term support from professionals for indebted people who have often given up on themselves and run the risk of finding themselves in a situation of financial, but also social, exclusion.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

We have thirty partner institutions signed up (LBFP, Laser Cofinoga, BNPPF, CACF, BFM, Malakoff Mederic).
We equally benefit from the support of foundations (Foundation Macif, Cetelem...) as well as sponsored skills programs (ALLIANZ SE, McKinsey)


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

It is reported that the number of precarious clients in France has reached 12 million, the real challenge has been to find a process which avoids being drowned by the demand while initially growing and experimenting. It isn't possible to improvise like an actor in a novel domain without preliminary experimentation, in order to create all the methods and to organise the process. Moreover, our field of action involves bringing up problems with CNIL and reveals banking secrets.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

By passing the maximum number of handovers each year and the conventions based on the advice given, we have been able to adapt our numbers and experiment progressively. Moreover the setting up of a charter signed by the beneficiaries has allowed us to raise the principal legislative obstacles.

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 :

- Taken charge of by the employees of our partners who are trained by us, uniquely through prescription.
- Creation of tools internally and in dialogue with the partners.
- Creation of management software and following that in the Cloud, allowing reporting in real time and the extraction of real time statistics.
- Audit, training and inventory of good practice of the partners.
- Finance based on conventions which are set according to individual engagement of handovers with billing in case of going over it.
- Creation of an actuary base for research and development.

Interview Method:
- Complete assessment/diagnosis, declared than realised
- Active listening
- Raising awareness of the gravity of the situation
- To obtain agreement from the person to receive training on the management of their budget.
- To demonstrate the interest in realising and following a budget.
- To formulate recommendations with tools and methods and to assure that they're followed.

- Resources put in place:
- Creation of a network of referees next to all the institutions and other involved parties, in order to be able to act on the mediations (around 400 per year) while becoming better known to the organisatons.
- Development of an free product pro bono for our beneficiaries (Micro-Credit, insurance, mobility, banking services...) in collaboration with the partners or other actors (Renault, Nickel, Bankin')
- Creation of an integration pool and internal and external training courses.
- Elaboration of unique procedures and internal and external standardisation of documents.
- Active participation in related subjects (Media and documentaries, long term project to fight poverty, lobbying, ...) and participation from the beneficaries in these actions as "witnesses".
- Creation of a base of audio and documentary support for informaton, training and research.
- Publication of diverse studies: typology, impact, energy poverty, banking detention...and awareness beside the parties involved.

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

- Study and research on the typology and journeys to over-indebtedness.
- Statistics and accounting.
- Impact study of our organisation and over-indebtedness.

Moreover we are always available to any researcher who would like access to our knowledge base.

To know more

Share this report
Download the report