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True Link to Acquire Next Step

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- True Link Financial, Inc., announced today that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Next Step Network, LLC., a Florida-based issuer of payment cards to people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.

Next Step was founded by Boca Raton resident and CEO Eric Dresdale in 2012. His company was the beneficiary of two rounds of angel funding. Next Step will operate as a business unit of True Link, continuing to offer its unique payment products to families and facilities catering to the recovery audience. Ten percent of adults age 18 or older – over twenty million Americans – are diagnosed with a substance use disorder each year1. Around 2.5 million receive care at an addiction treatment facility every year2.

"Every individual and every family faces a different situation, and we're honored to build on Eric's great work in supporting people in recovery," said True Link COO and cofounder Claire McDonnell, who grew up in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

"In the years that we've been working together, I've been impressed by True Link's dedication to every single customer," said Next Step founder and CEO Eric Dresdale. "With the benefit of our combined scale I'm confident we'll be able to help many more families that are facing this difficult situation." Next Step has been recognized by the Treatment Research Institute, Addiction Professional Magazine, and the nation's leading addiction treatment programs for its innovative work, including unique clinician-designed behavior modification features. The card has been used to manage gambling addiction and shopping addiction in addition to substance use disorders.

True Link is a diversified financial services firm offering payment cards, investment products, and trust banking services to retirees and their families, and to people with special needs, often through partnerships with nonprofits, attorneys, and government agencies. The acquisition of Next Step aligns with the company's development of services provided through residential facilities. Almost eighty percent of Next Step customers signed up as part of an inpatient rehab program.

"We believe in the inpatient facility market," said John Hopper, a True Link board member and the Chief Investment Officer of the Ziegler Link-Age Longevity Fund, a venture fund affiliated with 70 not-for-profit senior living systems that serve over 500,000 seniors. "Next Step's innovative approach will help True Link continue to grow in the long-term and post-intensive care facility market."

Since its founding in 2012, True Link has a history of offering innovative products to underserved financial markets. True Link is a leader in addressing fraud and elder abuse,3 was the first to offer a debit-type card compatible with POMS restrictions for Special Needs Trusts, offers unique products for Social Security representative payees and their beneficiaries, is a leading provider of payment products with age-friendly banking protections, and has developed a proprietary methodology for measuring financial risk in the "spend down" phase of asset management. True Link CEO Kai Stinchcombe is a member of the President's Council of Science and Technology Advisors Working Group on Aging and Technology and a member of the Family Caregiver Council, an industry association.

"Mega banks have never given individual customers the attention they deserve," said True Link CEO Kai Stinchcombe. "Our customers -- seniors, people with special needs, folks in recovery, people managing mental health issues -- are a fifty million person market. It's amazing that nobody has already done what we're doing."

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

2014 National Survey On Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA, 2014.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2013.
3 True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse, 2015.

About True Link

True link is a diversified financial services firm whose services preserve and increase individuals' independence and quality of life. The firm offers a range of payments, investment, and insurance products primarily to older adults, people with disabilities, and people in recovery. True Link's customers find the company through its wide-ranging partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies, attorneys, financial planners and advisors, care facilities, and other experts. True Link offers payment cards, investment products, and trust services to customers in all fifty states.

About Next Step

Next Step Network offers people in recovery and their families and advocates an added layer of safety as they re-enter society in sobriety, enabling them to pay for their groceries, their bus passes, or their health insurance with the knowledge that a supporter will automatically be notified if they are exhibiting relapse behaviors.


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/true-link-to-acquire-next-step-300308994.html

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Thursday, August 4, 2016