When the new bankruptcy law goes into effect next month, at least 26 credit counselors have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program to provide counseling to consumers filing bankruptcy. The new bankruptcy law requires consumers to undergo credit counseling within six months prior to filing for bankruptcy.
The Baltimore Sun Reports that the Trustee Program anticipates the average pre-bankruptcy counseling session will last 90 minutes and cover such topics as budget analysis, bankruptcy alternatives, and an analysis of the debtor’s financial situation including the causes of current financial problems. Counseling may be done in person or over the phone and fees may be charged to those who can afford it, according to the Baltimore Sun.
In recent years the credit counseling industry has come under scrutiny for charging hidden fees and not delivering on the promises made in their adverting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has provided a “Facts for Consumers” resource to help guide consumers in their selection of a credit counselor. In addition, the Trustee Program lists approved credit counseling agencies online by state. The list will be updated as more organizations are approved by the Trustee Program to offer credit counseling.