National Foundation for Credit Counseling
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|Services||Bankruptcy Counseling, Budget Counseling, Credit Counseling, Housing Counseling, Financial Education, Reverse Mortgage Counseling, Student Loan Counseling,|
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization in the United States. The NFCC and its member organizations are on a mission to improve the financial health of consumers in America and empower them to make smart financial decisions. NFCC member agencies provide access to financial counseling services for consumers. The headquarters is in Washington, DC. Rebecca Steele is the President and CEO.
NFCC member agencies provide financial reviews and education to more than a million consumers each year in person, over the phone, or online. Every NFCC member agency client receives comprehensive money management services based on their individual needs. NFCC member agencies provide a variety of free and affordable services including:
- Credit/Debt Counseling
- Bankruptcy Counseling
- Housing Counseling- includes first-time homebuyers, reverse mortgage counseling, foreclosure prevention,
- Debt Management Plans
- Credit Report Reviews
- Financial Education
- Additionally, one-third of NFCC members are multi-service agencies specializing in community-based social service programs such as youth mentoring, foster care, and substance abuse programs.
The NFCC provides counselor certification for nonprofit credit counselors employed by their member agencies in the areas of credit card debt, student loans, housing and small business owners coaching.
Consumers who seek help figuring out how to repay their debts or reach their financial goals contact the NFCC for assistance with their financial services needs, including credit counseling, bankruptcy, financial education, and housing counseling. NFCC member agencies set their own fees and fees vary based on state regulations. The NFCC provides funding for scholarships based on display of need of the consumer. No consumer who is unable to pay should be turned away.
The NFCC states that its agencies assist millions of people annually, with member offices in every state and U.S. territory, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
As part of membership, agencies agree to certify their counselors through the NFCC Certification program which focuses on empowering counselors to deliver exemplary counseling and educational services to the clients and communities they serve. Certified counselors are able to demonstrate to the community and their colleagues that they have attained the degree of professional knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality services.
Individuals in need of financial counseling can experience confidence in knowing that by working with an NFCC member they are being assisted by a counselor who has been certified and held to a high standard of service delivery. A typical session includes reviewing goals, completing a thorough financial analysis, and working in partnership with the individual to establish steps to improve the individual’s overall financial well-being.
The NFCC Certification program is exclusive to NFCC members and provides industry best practices in the financial management arena, to include working with people in (but not limited to):
- Establishing goals and the action steps to achieve them
- Developing and understanding a budget as well as revising a budget during times of crisis
- Working with creditors to manage unsecured debt and determine alternatives that most effectively meet the consumer’s needs and goals
- Determining affordability of potential housing options
- Examining steps needed to obtain and maintain home ownership
- Understanding consumer rights and responsibilities
- Navigating the student loan repayment process
- Identifying community resources and referrals that may assist individual’s in increasing their financial well-being
- Understanding the collection and foreclosure processes
- Establishing strategies to overcome financial hardships
- Developing techniques to effectively cope with unplanned expenditures and prepare for the future
- Understanding credit reporting and possible methods to improve credit-worthiness
The NFCC Certification program requires initial certification through comprehensive instruction on how to provide education and guidance regarding the multitude of areas listed above. The program also requires continuing education in service related areas as well as mandatory re-certification on a bi-annual cycle for credit counseling and annual cycle for housing and student loan.
Every NFCC member agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) to ensure the highest standards are maintained as a nonprofit financial counseling agency. COA is an independent, third party, nonprofit accrediting organization.
To be eligible for membership, you must currently:
- Be a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Be duly qualified and existing under the laws of the District of Columbia, or any states or territory of the United States of America.
- Provide financial counseling services and act in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations—contact your state government for requirements.
- Be accredited by the Council on Accreditation or demonstrate that you have submitted an application and initial payment.
- Comply with the NFCC’s Member Quality Standards
Supporters and Funders
In 2018, the Suntrust Foundation provided funds in support of a Hispanic nonprofit financial Counseling Program. Wells Fargo committed $1Million to support programs benefiting military service members and veterans. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank', and the TD Charitable Foundation, the bank’s charitable giving arm, made an exclusive $3 million commitment to support financial education and counseling services for U.S. small business owners.
Client Impact and Research
In 2016, the NFCC unveiled the findings from a comprehensive, independent evaluation of credit counseling, which was conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University. “The NFCC Sharpen Your Financial Focus Initiative Impact Evaluation” assessed the long-term impact of nonprofit financial counseling by comparing financial health outcomes for Sharpen Your Financial Focus clients with those of non-counseled individuals.
The Sharpen study revealed the positive outcomes of financial counseling with an NFCC member agency. During the 18 months following counseling, Sharpen clients decreased their total debt by almost $9,000—a statistically significant reduction of $11,300 more than the comparison group, whose total debt increased slightly during the same period. The average decrease in total debt per individual at 18 months post counseling was $17,000. They also saw an average of a 50 point increase in their credit score.
The NFCC provides tools, resources and great information on their blog. Consumers can submit questions to their experts on staff and may have a chance to be featured in and "Ask an Expert" article. The NFCC also provides a Facebook page with the latest financial advice, informational videos and other resources. They are also active on Twitter and host monthly consumer focused Twitter chats to improve financial literacy on a variety of topics, using the hashtag, #NFCCtips.
In 2017 the NFCC extended its service beyond the United States by adding its first International Affiliate. The Credit Counselling Society, Canada's largest non-profit credit counseling organization, became the first International Affiliate after becoming certified by the Council on Accreditation (COA).
- "About Us". NFCC. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- "NFCC Sharpen Executive Summary" (PDF). www.sharpen.nfcc.org.
- "National Foundation for Credit Counseling". FaceBook: NFCC. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- "The Credit Counselling Society is an International Affiliate of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)". Credit Counselling Society. Retrieved November 24, 2018.