IRVINE, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 4, 2015) - The BBB of San Diego and Imperial Counties has named Rescue One Financial CEO Brad Smith to its board of directors, the first time a debt settlement company has ever been represented on the board.
"I'm so pleased to have Brad Smith on Better Business Bureau's Board of Directors," said BBB President & CEO Sheryl Reichert. "His extensive knowledge of and experience in the financial industry is invaluable to BBB as we hope during his tenure, he will help us understand how to better serve this industry and teach consumers vital information about it as well."
Smith said he was "honored" by his selection, which marks a turning point in how debt settlement companies are regarded. In late 2010, following the Great Recession, the Federal Trade Commission changed how all reputable companies should do business in this space, directly tying their revenue to the benefits they achieved for customers.
"It truly was a blessing in disguise," Smith said. "The law change put companies like Rescue One Financial on the same side of the table as consumers that were struggling financially. Either the good companies out there got results or they never made a dime."
Like any BBB board director, Smith was nominated by the board and then approved by a vote of all BBB members. The 20 directors perform several functions for the BBB, including voting on the inclusion of new members as well as the revocation of membership in specific situations, providing guidance and advice at a committee level, and determining how the organization will be governed.
Irvine, Calif.-based Rescue One Financial, recently ranked No. 12 on the Inc. 500, was launched upon the thesis that Americans struggling with debt, who do not qualify for traditional credit products, are vastly underserved. Since 2008, banks were and are focused on extracting value from these consumers rather than on delivering value (especially credit card issuers). Rescue One offers unsecured consumer loans in 45 states and debt management programs in 31 states.
As Reichert noted, Smith's financial industry experience is extensive. He started his 18-year financial services career on Wall Street where he worked with the largest retail advisory group at Merrill Lynch. His team was responsible for the largest Rule 144 trade in history, selling more than 5 million shares of Walt Disney stock. They also managed over $2 billion in concentrated stock positions. Smith later helped pioneer the restricted stock diversification business at Morgan Stanley.
Smith, who holds a BA in Economics from the University of Southern California, enjoys living in the area with his wife Carrie and their three children.