We all know that financial debt does not discriminate; people everywhere are fighting the overwhelming battle of financial troubles. Luckily, there are some pretty incredible people right in our community that provide solutions to help our friends, family and neighbors get out of that debt, and teach us to be financially responsible. CCCS of Buffalo may not be a name you have heard of before, but we want to shout it loud to everyone they can possibly help. The West Seneca Chamber of Commerce had a chat with Noelle Carter of CCCS of Buffalo to discuss the valuable financial knowledge they had to share.
Can you provide us with a brief overview of your business?
CCCS of Buffalo is a nonprofit agency established in 1965. We offer a wide array of services that provide solutions to the complex financial side of our lives. Counseling sessions focus on proper budgeting techniques, debt repayment options, student loan assistance, small business advice, credit report education and credit score explanations.
How has CCCS of Buffalo grown since opening its doors in 1965?
CCCS of Buffalo has maintained its mission of empowering people to take control of their personal finances, but over the years we have adapted and grown to meet additional community needs that have evolved over time. We now offer homebuyer education, student loan debt counseling and small business counseling.
Of the services you offer, what is the greatest need in Western New York?
CCCS encounters many people who are mired in credit card debt and can’t dig their way out due to high interest rates. We continue to focus on educating our community about our Debt Management Plan which assists people with lowering their interest rates and minimum payments so that they are able to become debt-free within five years or less. Too often we see people being taken advantage of by for-profit companies, and we want individuals to know there is a local nonprofit in the area that can help look out for their best interests.
In what ways does CCCS of Buffalo give back to the local community?
CCCS employees participate in the United Way annual giving campaign. We also raise money for charities through our casual dress down Thursdays and Fridays. At Christmastime, we write Christmas cards to those in nursing homes and also to people that need some cheer identified through the “Angel Card Project.” Throughout the year we hold various drives for food banks and other local nonprofits in need of various items for their clients.
Can local groups book members of your staff for presentations to learn more about your services?
CCCS offers group financial education workshops throughout the community, and topics covered include budgeting, credit reports and scores, debt repayment, homebuyer education, identity theft and student loan debt. We can also cater a presentation based on a group’s needs.
If you could share one piece of credit-related advice to today’s younger generation, what would it be?
Learn how to manage credit responsibly early in life. You have to open and use credit in order to have a credit profile and score, but you also have to manage those accounts responsibility in order to build a high credit score to qualify for loans at low interest rates in the future. A rule of thumb with credit cards is to always make your payments on time, and never charge more than 30% of the limit on the card. Pay off your full balance each month — don’t pay interest, utilize the card strictly to build credit.
Why did you feel it was important to join the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce?
CCCS wants to grow opportunities to connect and network with local businesses to further uplift those who live in our community.
If you are a West Seneca Chamber of Commerce member and would like to participate in the “Seven Questions With … ” business profile feature, please contact the Chamber at 674-4900.