The national Center for Excellence in Financial Counseling (CEFC), formerly The Foundation for Credit Education, joined the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2009. The former operating foundation evolved from the vision of a small group of committed community leaders to create an organization with a mission to strengthen and enhance nonprofit financial counseling client outcomes. The foundation was established as an independent organization when a regional credit counseling organization in St. Louis merged in 2003 with a large credit counseling organization located in Richmond, Virginia.

In 2006, the foundation board began a search for an academic partner in order to more easily access expertise in the various disciplines within financial counseling and successfully bring evidence-based practices to the frontline of financial counseling to improve consumers’ financial capability.  In 2009, the transition of the Foundation for Credit Education into the current Center for Excellence in Financial Counseling at the University of Missouri-St. Louis was completed.

One of the new organization’s first tasks was the establishment of a national Leadership Council with a cross-section of knowledgeable representatives from academia, consumer advocacy groups, the counseling industry, creditor organizations and governmental agencies. The dedicated council members advise CEFC in accomplishing its dual mission of bringing academic research findings and evidence-based practices to the frontline of financial counseling and then monitoring and evaluating the processes, outcomes and impact of those practices.