Frequently Asked Questions
Sound financial education begins with asking good questions. In this section, you will encounter some of our most frequently asked. If you don't find your questions here or need to ask more, just give us a call. That's what we are here for.
- What exactly is "Consumer Credit Counseling Service?"
- Is there a cost for CCCS services?
- How do I know if my situation is severe enough to contact CCCS?
- Who can be helped by the CCCS Debt Management Plan (DMP)?
- If I'm on the DMP, will my creditors continue to call me?
- How is CCCS funded?
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of the Tennessee River Valley is a program of the Partnership, a nonprofit community service agency. CCCS was established in 1981 to provide:
Confidential Financial Counseling
Certified credit counselors provide free financial counseling to all consumers. Counseling sessions may be conducted in person, over the phone, or online. Sessions may cover budgeting, credit, debt, bankruptcy, housing issues, or any other financial topic.
The Debt Management Plan to Repay Creditors
For those with overwhelming credit card debt or medical debt, we offer the Debt Management Plan (DMP), allowing participants to fully repay their creditors within 5 years. Many creditors will reduce or waive interest charges when payments are made through CCCS' Debt Management Plan.
Money Management Seminars
Free educational workshops are available to local businesses, schools and universities, religious organizations, or any other community groups. Programs are available on any financial topic, most commonly covering money management, credit, and debt,
CCCS of the Tennessee River Valley's main office is located in
Chattanooga, TN, with a satellite office in Huntsville, AL. Click here to view our memberships and accreditations.
Consultations/financial reviews cost $15, but each is subject to a sliding fee scale. According to your income, the cost of the session could be reduced or waived. Click here to see CCCS' complete fee structure.
Costs vary for some sessions, including....
The Debt Management Plan
A nominal administrative fee is included in monthly payments to cover the distrubution of funds. This fee varies from $0 to a maximum of $50.
Some mortgage loan programs (THDA, FHA, USDA, Back to Work, Georgia Dream, as well as high-cost mortgages) require that applicants enroll in a homeownership education course before receiving approval for a loan. The cost for each class varies depending on the type of loan. Some lenders may cover the cost of the course or include it in the closing costs of the loan. Please contact our office to verify the cost for your specific need.
Reverse Mortgage Counseling Certificate
In order to apply for a reverse mortgage, individuals are required to obtain a certificate that proves they have received counseling. The certificate costs $150.
If one is unable to pay for a particular program, the fee may be waived. No one is ever denied service due to an inability to pay.
If you answer yes to two or more of the following questions, it's time to schedule an appointment with CCCS:
- Do you worry about money?
- Are you only able to pay the minimum amount on your credit cards?
- Are you using credit cards for items you used to buy with cash?
- Is your savings cushion inadequate or non-existent?
A Debt Management Plan may help many people who are experiencing difficulty making payments to creditors. A DMP allows you to make a single, monthly deposit to CCCS, based on a renegotiated payment plan, which in turn is paid directly to your creditors by CCCS. To find out if you are suited for a DMP, contact CCCS for a budget counseling session with a qualified counselor. You may contact us right here on our website. During your appointment, your counselor will review your budget (income, living expenses and credit obligation) and may recommend a debt management plan.
In the majority of cases, we are able to work with creditors towards a positive solution that will satisfy everyone. Once creditors begin to receive regular payments through CCCS, they should stop calling you.
The majority of funding is received through grants, federal funds, and private donations through organizations like the United Way.
Since creditors have a financial interest in getting paid, most are willing to make a contribution to help fund our agency. These contributions are usually calculated as a percentage of the payments clients make through any DMP. However, clients' accounts with their creditors are always credited with 100% of the amount paid through CCCS, and we will attempt to work with your creditors regardless of whether they contribute to our agency.
Additionally, we generate some funds through the cost of programs like the Debt Management Plan and bankruptcy counseling.