In 1951 the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) was created. The first credit counseling franchises began popping up in the 1960s providing credit counseling and financial education to consumers.
The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies was founded in 1993 to organize and advocate for the creditors and provide assistance to consumers. Since the lenders started the credit counseling industry, you should be careful that the advice you are given is not biased.
Debt Management Plan
A DMP set up by the credit counseling agency will result in full repayment of your debt for typically five years. The good news is, the agency will contact your creditors and let them know you are in a DMP and the collection calls will stop. The bad news is, if you fall behind in your payments you could be worse off then before the DMP.
If an agency you are considering is more interested in putting you on a DMP then discussing your situation and provide counseling, you may want to look elsewhere. The advice is the main reason the agencies were created. Your goal should be to put yourself in a better financial situation and to learn to make better choices in acquiring debt.
Sometimes your debt is higher than your income and getting on a debt management plan doesn’t make sense. Your counselor should discuss all options including bankruptcy with you.
Consumer complaints about some nonprofit credit counseling agencies are that they are failing to deliver promised counseling services, high upfront fees, nonrefundable or compulsory donations and failure to provide implied benefits. Some consumers completed their debt management plans and then realized their credit score was less than when they started.
Many states license or regulate credit counseling agencies to try to enforce a code of ethics. Before you choose a credit counseling agency to ask what licenses they have and if they subscribe to a code of conduct.
If you are having some financial troubles and are wondering how you will be able to pay your bills, consider contacting a Cincinnati bankruptcy attorney to find out what options you may have.