What to Look for in a Credit Counseling Agency
Every borrower has different needs when it comes to credit counseling. Some just need a little help overcoming difficult times and figuring out how best to repay a loan or catch up on credit card payments. Others are years behind on payments to a variety of institutions and are completely underwater. When you recommend that a borrower attend credit counseling, it’s important to know what to look for in a credit counseling agency.
Choose a Not for Profit Credit Counseling Agency
You don’t want your card members feeling like they’re being sold by a credit counseling agency. Instead, the goal is to for them to feel like you’re helping them get through a hard time by recommending an invaluable resource.
As with any industry, there are credit counseling agencies that are just looking to prey on the most vulnerable among us. Those aren’t the organizations that you want to work with. Not only will they leave a bad taste in your borrower’s mouth, potentially costing you future business, they likely won’t work well with you either.
Look into the Agency’s Services to See if They Match Your Client’s Needs
Ideally, you want to work with a full-service credit counseling agency. They should offer your cardmembers a free review of their credit report, help with budgeting before they hit the point of a DMP, and help with next steps.
You’ll also want to make sure that the agency is accredited and part of the NFCC. This ensures that they’re compliant with state and federal regulations. They also regularly undergo audits for data security, counselor accreditation, and customer service. Making sure you’re recommending credit counselors with the right credentials and services helps you build a better foundation with your borrowers.
Check the Agency’s Reputation for Working with Lenders
Some credit counseling agencies don’t work well with lenders. They either want to make the lender out to be the bad guy that they’re swooping in to save the borrower from or they’re very, very slow at getting information to you.
Some may not be fast enough to meet your cardmember’s expectations, or not have the technology to help your cardmember stay on the program. And, be sure the agency has the scale to meet the volume for cardmembers you may be referring to ensure everyone gets good service.
Like with any vendor or service for your organization, you want to take the time to read reviews and testimonials. Make sure you’re looking at these from both the perspective of the lender and the consumer, since this will give you the best idea of whether the agency has a solid reputation.
One of the best resources to check is the Better Business Bureau, or with others who refer to credit counseling agencies.
Need Help Learning How to Choose a Credit Counseling Agency?
Interviewing and working with credit counseling agencies can take away from your day-to-day operations and ability to make money. That’s where process solutions for lenders come in. Peregrin offers customer referral management to help connect your customers with the right credit counseling agencies for them.
We’ll design a program specifically for your organization. We’ll also do all the leg work with the agencies to process DMPs to avoid long wait times and potential “buyer’s remorse.”
To get started, give us a call at 443-394-0073 or contact us right here.