It is hard to listen to the radio for more than 15 minutes wihout hearing an ad from a credit counselling agency or a bankruptcy trustee. The amounts of money spent on radio ads by a handful of the largest Canadian credit counselling agencies and bankruptcy trustee firms across Canada must be staggering!
This air war highlights a number of developments in Canada. Firstly, some bankruptcy trustee firms and some credit counselling agencies are aggressively competing for market share. Secondly, some players–the largest credit counselling agencies and the largest firms of bankruptcy trustees– have the financial resources to play this high-stakes game, and others simply do not. Finally, it would appear almost inevitable that we are going to witness a certain degree of consolidation in both the non-profit credit counselling space and the bankruptcy trustee space over the next five years. Some smaller credit counselling agencies and smaller bankruptcy trustee firms might face challenges competing with the large advertising budgets of the big players and they might feel compelled to join their larger competiors or simply exit the marketplace or reinvent themselves and offer a different mix of services to the public.
In the past we have waxed nostalgic about the disappearance of the family farm. In the not-too-distant-future we might be doing the same for the community’s local credit counselling agency and the bankrupty trustee down the street.