Money Management International (MMI) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit community service agency. Our mission is to improve lives through financial education. We provide consumer credit education, money management and budget counseling, and for some consumers who find themselves over obligated, a supervised Debt Management Program. The Debt Management Program offers an alternative to bankruptcy.
Client funds are posted the day they are received into a separate trust account and disbursed to all creditors included in the client’s program. MMI audits client accounts periodically to ensure proper posting. When disbursing payments to creditors, MMI never allocates payments on the basis of creditor funding of MMI programs.
Money Management International’s Counseling Process
At MMI we provide comprehensive education and counseling to clients to enhance their financial well being and awareness. All counselors are certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling prior to counseling consumers. Counselors are also certified by the Consumer Data Industry Association, on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and are trained using a HUD approved training program in loss mitigation and housing counseling. Counseling is available seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The client can select the type of counseling they are most comfortable with, in person, by phone, or via the internet through chat sessions. Counselors use the same counseling process for all types of counseling.
First we gather the client’s financial information and establishing a realistic budget. It is essential to educate the client on how to track their spending so that they can stick to their newly formed spending plan. This is a key phase of the session. Planning a budget is one thing, sticking to it is the key to their future success. Next we discuss past trends that brought the client to their present financial situation and all possible options to help the client get back on their feet. If the client is delinquent on their mortgage, taxes, auto, or student loans the counselor educates the client on ways to work with the lender to bring these debts current or minimize the client’s exposure as the consequences to no paying on these debts can be very serious.
The client is then presented with the following options for ways to reach their financial goals.
- The first option is for the client to handle the debt on their own. The advantage of this option is that the client can pay off their debt without impacting their credit rating. This option applies to about 20% of the total clients we counsel.
- The second option is borrowing against or selling assets. Most clients have already exhausted this option by attempting to consolidate before coming to us for assistance and as a result only about 10% of the clients we counsel pursue this option.
- The third option is debt management. This option applies to 25% of the clients we counsel. If the client has good credit and can afford to pay their debts without assistance, a Debt Management Plan is not recommended. To ensure standardization and quality, the client must demonstrate the following during the counseling session:
- Need for a plan
- Their debt management payment would be part of a balanced budget
- Current with all secured debt
- Included all unsecured debt on the plan. One debt may be excluded for business or emergency purposes.
- Will stop using credit
- The fourth option is for the client to seek legal assistance. Legal assistance includes bankruptcy or in a few cases judgment proofing. Judgment proofing applies to clients whose sole source of income is retirement or disability and who have no assets. This option applies to 15% of the clients we counsel.
In about 30% of the cases we counsel, additional steps must be taken in order for the client to achieve the option they want to pursue and is in their best interest. Many times the client chooses to supplement their income with a second job or by turning a talent into a business opportunity.
If a Debt Management Plan is the selected option, the client is given a payout forecast that details the payment to each creditor, what the projected interest rate would be on the plan and the estimated payoff date. The debt management agreements are explained and provided to the client. The counselor then works with the client to analyze their cash flow and determine the best due date for their deposit.
After the counseling session, the client is provided with a copy of an action plan that includes a list of their problems and goals, their customized spending plan, their balance sheet including a listing of all creditors, their options, desired solution and a list of recommended action steps and referrals.
MMI is committed to ensuring that all counseling is in the best interest of our clients. While many credit counseling organizations focus on the number of Debt Management Plans their counselors generate, we monitor and perform quality assurance processes that judge a counselor on the quality of the sessions they conduct. While many other agencies only collect creditor information and only discuss debt management, our counselors discover the root cause of the problem, assist the client in setting goals, educate the client on budgeting and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of all options. Only then can a client truly make an informed decision about their financial future that is in their own best interest.