Typically consumers that have overwhelming debt have two options, either enter into a Consumer Credit Counseling Program or declare Bankruptcy. While the two options may have a lot of similarities, most will opt to enrolling into a Consumer Credit Counseling program for such reasons as it is more cost effective and easier to implement.
Many credit card companies and creditors realize that it would be more beneficial to actually work with debtors and make affordable payment arrangements than to pursue typical collection activities. Instead they work with each of the individual’s creditors to come to some agreement that will result into a reduced single payment plan, a consolidation of their debt, and or a reduction of interest rates and late fees – thus making it possible for the debtor to repay his or her debts over a period of 3 – 5 years. Once enrolled, the debtor will make a single payment to the consumer credit counseling service, and then the counseling service will make all the payments to the creditors.
One of the advantages of credit counseling services is to educate their client about debt management and budgeting.
The main disadvantage of enrolling into consumer credit counseling services is that many creditors will make a notation on the debtor’s credit report indicating that the debt is being managed by consumer credit counseling agency.
Another major issue that a client may experience is, even though they are making their monthly payments to the credit counseling service on time, the credit counseling service doesn’t make the payments to the creditors on time. Now this will reflect on the client’s credit report as late payments.
And to add fuel to the fire, it is not uncommon for the credit counseling service to make the payments on time, while the creditors are not accepting the reduced payment amounts. This, too, would negatively affect the consumer’s credit report.
However, if you are in the market to purchase a home or refinance, it is important to find a mortgage expert that specializes in helping individuals that have been enrolled or that are currently enrolled in consumer credit counseling services. The lender will request from the credit counseling agency a copy of the agreement which will indicating the date the consumer entered into the program, all the creditors involved, and the payment history of the consumer’s payments. From this information, the lender will then determine if the client qualifies for a mortgage loan. FHA LENDER’S understand that if the consumer has been making their payments on time to the consumer credit counseling agency, but the creditors have been getting their payments late, then that’s not the fault of the consumer and shouldn’t penalize them from purchasing a home or refinancing their home.
It is important to note that many lenders view credit counseling services as similar to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, because both can entail a payment plan and re-negotiation of debt payments. (And, in fact, some people who are using a credit counseling service do end up filing bankruptcy because they still don’t have the income or money management skills to handle the payments.) So, in some cases use of such a service can be a negative.
However, many FHA Lenders recognize that if a person is attempting to handle debt responsibly by enrolling in these types of services, then that person probably takes their financial commitments seriously. In general, in order to get a mortgage the borrower must have a 12-month history of paying on time and a letter from the counseling service stating that purchasing a home or refinancing will not interfere with the repayment plan. Thanks to FHA Loans, consumer credit counseling services will not restrict the borrower from obtaining a low interest rate mortgage loan.