Do you offer debt settlements?

No. We do not negotiate with creditors to settle your debts for an amount less than you owe. We can educate you about settlements, and help you understand what negotiating a settlement would entail and what it would mean to your credit.

Can you help me repair my credit?

We don’t offer credit repair services, but we can teach you how to repair your own credit, legally and legitimately. We don’t provide personal credit repair services, but anything we could do for you, you can learn to do for yourself. Start by downloading our “Consumer Guide to Good Credit.” You should also check out our seminar materials: “Understanding Your Credit Report & Score.”

In addition to these educational offerings, we’ll also help you create a budget you can live with and teach you about managing your debts. Going forward with consistent, on-time debt payments is the best thing you can do for your credit rating.

We offer all of these downloads and educational services free of charge.

Does really work for the creditors?

No. We do accept voluntary contributions from creditors to fund our operations, and we prefer this to charging high fees of our clients. When it comes to the education we offer to consumers, our focus is on them, not the creditors they are indebted to.

The creditors with whom we negotiate are willing to contribute to us because the Debt Management Plans we offer help them recover funds owed to them. However, this is not the primary objective of the DMP. The DMP’s purpose is to help our clients get out of debt. The fact that the creditors benefit from the DMP is a bonus that helps us get funding to continue our educational efforts.

If DMPs help you get funding, don’t you try to put all of your clients into a Debt Management Plan?

No. We’re a non-profit organization; our primary function is to educate consumers on the wise use of credit. Debt Management Plans are a small part of what we do: fewer than one-quarter of the clients we counsel enroll in a DMP.

When we counsel consumers, we present a lot of options for resolving their debts, and try to help them find the solution that works best for them. For most of our clients, that involves budget counseling and education alone. For some clients, it is bankruptcy. Some of our clients are a good fit for a DMP.

When we do enroll clients in a Debt Management Plan, it is very important to us that they succeed. We do not want to see a large percentage of our DMP clients to fail to overcome their debts. One way we try to achieve this success is to identify only the few clients who can truly benefit from a DMP. It does us no good to enroll a lot of clients in a Plan if they are destined for failure.

Is there a fee for debt counseling?

In many cases, such as credit counseling and some forms of housing counseling, services are offered free of charge and are paid for by donations and grants from various sources such as government agencies, non-profit organizations, program administrators and grantors. In some instances where the government requires counseling (i.e. pre-bankruptcy counseling, reverse mortgage counseling, etc.), modest fees may be charged which are regulated by law. If debt management services are recommended, fees vary based on the state of residence and debt amount.

Who owns

No one. We are a non-profit community organization. There are no owners or shareholders who benefit financially from the work we do. Our governing Board is purely voluntary. We exist to serve the community and educate consumers.

Any extra funds we take in are used to keep our systems and facilities up to date so we can better serve our clients. We also maintain an emergency fund to help us survive financial difficulties. Creating and maintaining an emergency savings fund is a lesson we stress with everyone we educate.