Consumers in credit trouble not seeking counseling | Real Estate
Exploding interest rates, reckless spending, 5-figure debt. For thousands of credit card users, the writing was on the wall.
Now, it appears they're ignoring the writing on their card statements.
Despite federal regulations passed two years ago that require card-issuers to print the toll-free numbers of credit counseling agencies on every credit card statement, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling said its member agencies have only received 150,000 calls generated from credit card statements.
"That's despite the phone numbers appearing on 500 million statements since February of 2010," said Thomas Nitzsche, media relations coordinator for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions.
Posting the numbers on credit card statements is a provision of the federal Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. The law also required banks and credit card companies to disclose the interest costs of carrying a balance.
"Credit counseling is often confused with the recent proliferation of for-profit debt settlement companies, but credit counselors can provide assistance in personal finances beyond credit card debt," Nitzsche said. "This includes help building a personal spending plan and improving credit, providing HUD-approved mortgage counseling to prevent default or foreclosure, bankruptcy counseling and reverse mortgage counseling."
Consumers seeking debt counseling may contact ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions at www.clearpointccs.org or 1-877-877-1995.
Action News 5 also recommends the RISE Foundation (http://www.risememphis.org/), the Memphis Consumer Credit Education Association (http://www.mccea.net/) and Betty Jones King of Second Chance Budget & Debt Family Counseling at (901) 323-0609.
For foreclosure assistance, contact the Memphis Housing Counseling Network at http://memphis.earnbenefits.org/page.php?pageID=607 or call 901-725-8361. You may also contact Roshun Austin of the HOPE-Keychain Alliance team of GMAC Rescap at 901-276-0079.
For legal assistance in foreclosure cases, contact the Memphis Fair Housing Center of the non-profit Memphis Area Legal Services: www.malsi.org.
Photo courtesy Flickr user Andres Rueda.