MADISON, Wis. (7/8/08)--Credit unions seeking information about debt relief for their members can reference a new report from the Filene Research Institute on Responsible Debt Relief (RDR). Robert D. Manning, director, center for consumer financial services at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has released “Responsible Debt Relief: An Algorithmic Assessment of Household Debt Capacity and Repayment Capability.” The key to a successful RDR system is the objective and statistically precise estimate of consumer debt capacity and debt repayment capability, according to Manning. His Responsible Choice program, based on an algorithm that estimates household debt capacity and repayment capability, classifies individual consumers into tested debt management programs. “The RDR algorithm improves the efficiency of the overall system of consumer debt management programs by guiding consumers to the plans that best match their financial situation,” said George Hofheimer, Filene chief research officer. RDR applies to households that do not qualify for an accredited Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Many of those households often enroll in nefarious debt settlement programs or file for consumer bankruptcy, Filene said. Household debt has grown to more than $13 trillion in 2008, from less than $4 trillion in 1990. Current home mortgage debt is $10.5 trillion, compared with $2.5 trillion during the same time period. Credit card debt also has quadrupled to $950 billion.