What does a Credit Counselor do?
Advise and educate individuals or organizations on acquiring and managing debt. May provide guidance in determining the best type of loan and explaining loan requirements or restrictions. May help develop debt management plans, advise on credit issues, or provide budget, mortgage, and bankruptcy counseling.
- Advise clients or respond to inquiries about financial matters in person or via phone, email, Web site, or Internet chat.
- Assess clients' overall financial situation by reviewing income, assets, debts, expenses, credit reports, or other financial information.
- Calculate clients' available monthly income to meet debt obligations.
- Create debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets to assist clients to meet financial goals.
- Estimate time for debt repayment given amount of debt, interest rates, and available funds.
- Explain services or policies to clients, such as debt management program rules, the advantages and disadvantages of using services, or creditor concession policies.
- Interview clients by telephone or in person to gather financial information.
- Maintain or update records of client account activity, including financial transactions, counseling session notes, correspondence, document images, or client inquiries.
- Negotiate with creditors on behalf of clients to arrange for payment adjustments, interest rate reductions, time extensions, or to set up payment plans.
- Prepare written documents to establish contracts with or communicate financial recommendations to clients.
- Prioritize client debt repayment to avoid dire consequences, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure or to reduce overall costs, such as by paying high-interest or short-term loans first.
- Recommend educational materials or resources to clients on matters such as financial planning, budgeting, or credit.
- Recommend strategies for clients to meet their financial goals, such as borrowing money through loans or loan programs, declaring bankruptcy, making budget adjustments, or enrolling in debt management plans.
- Refer clients to social service or community resources for needs beyond those of credit or debt counseling.
- Review changes to financial, family, or employment situations to determine whether changes to existing debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets are needed.
- Advise clients on housing matters, such as housing rental, homeownership, mortgage delinquency, or foreclosure prevention.
- Conduct research to help clients avoid repossessions or foreclosures or remove levies or wage garnishments.
- Create action plans to assist clients in obtaining permanent housing via rent or mortgage programs.
- Disburse funds from client accounts to creditors.
- Explain general financial topics to clients, such as credit report ratings, bankruptcy laws, consumer protection laws, wage attachments, or collection actions.
- Explain loan information to clients, such as available loan types, eligibility requirements, or loan restrictions.
- Investigate missing checks, payment histories, held funds, returned checks, or other related issues to resolve client or creditor problems.
- Teach courses or seminars on topics such as budgeting, managing personal finances, or financial literacy.