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February 2011

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the largest serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. Find various topics in this blog, including personal finance, credit counseling, housing, budgeting and student loan help. Click here to speak with an NFCC-certified Consumer Credit Counselor.

The Downside to Mortgage Loan Modifications

Three years ago the term “loan modification” was practically unheard of, especially in the mortgage environment.  Today, however, the term is almost as common as “refinance” and “home equity loan”, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.  This week we’ll explore the loan modification option, as well as its credit downside.  A mortgage loan modification, hereafter “loan mod”, is the process whereby your mortgage lender will either temporarily or permanently …Read More

What to Do When Your Finances Are Out of Control

Have you ever felt like your finances are totally out of control and that there’s no hope of ever recovering from the financial mayhem you’re in?  Given everything that has happened and is still happening with the American economy – lost jobs, mortgages underwater, retirement accounts on life-support — this feeling of hopelessness is understandable. If you think financial stability is out of reach, take heart.  The NFCC wants consumers …Read More

Couples and Credit Reports, Busting the Myths

200,000 couples got engaged during this past week’s Valentine’s Day festivities.  That’s roughly 10% of the engagements that will occur in 2011.  And while most of these couples will soon tie the proverbial knot and profess to live as one until “death do us part”, the mechanics of the credit system don’t necessarily follow those rules.  In fact, there are a fair number of myths regarding couples and their credit.  …Read More

The CARD Act One Year Later

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a study on how the CARD is being implemented and how creditors are responding.  Take a look: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/22/AR2011022205985.html

What to do about the interest on your debt

They say that the one of the biggest obstacles in balancng the federal budget is interest on the national debt. To that end, we thought that may of you might hav eproblems with the interest rate on your credit card debt. Check out this NFCC Financial Fast Fact to find out what you can do to change your credit terms.: http://www.nfcc.org/consumer_tools/FinancialFastFacts/fff.cfm?v=ChangingCreditCardTermsLogo

Americans are paying down debt and saving more

Nice piece on the Washington Post site reporting on data from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that American consumers are saving more and reducing their debt. Not sure we can declare victory just yet, however. As the Post story rightly points out there is still a lot of work to be done — debt as a percentage of the overall economy is still high and the savings rate is still …Read More

Retail sales and Financial Literacy

Today’s news that retail sales increased slightly at 0.3 percent in January is positive news on a couple of fronts. While the increase was not as large as many economists were hoping for, keep in mind that much of the country was braving intense winter storms and snow throughout much of the month. So put in context, an increase of any size can be thought of as a pretty good …Read More

Credit Scores to Become More Accessible in 2011

What were you doing when the clock struck midnight on December 31st and ushered in 2011?  Regardless of what you were doing I’m pretty sure I can guess what you were not doing.  My guess is you weren’t counting down the minutes waiting for the new Risk Based Pricing rules to become effective, which is exactly what happened at precisely the same time the ball dropped in Times Square. A …Read More

Ringing Endorsement from Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank

A new report just released by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank offers a ringing endorsement of non-profit credit counseling generally and the NFCC specifically. Some excerpts from the report: “As conversations with some of the major nonprofit consumer credit counseling providers in the Ninth Federal Reserve District reveal, the industry’s aim is to deliver services that are grounded in knowledge, quality, and compassion, whether in good economic times or bad.” …Read More