Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Financial Education and Counseling Services (FEC) 7: Debt Management Plans

The organization works with the client to develop and manage a debt management plan based on their needs to satisfy creditor obligations, and resolve the client’s financial problems.
NA The organization does not provide debt management plans.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Clients who receive Financial Education and Counseling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • DMP procedures
  • Sample copy of the “Agreement for Services,” “DMP Agreement,” or other document that highlights client disclosures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client files

 

FEC 7.01

The client participates in the development of a DMP that includes:
  1. permission to contact the client’s creditors to verify obligations and negotiate adjustments and payment schedules; and
  2. a payment schedule and budget for the repayment period.

 

FEC 7.02

All DMPs:
  1. reflect the client’s best efforts to repay debts he or she currently can afford in accord with creditor policy;
  2. are established for no longer than 60 months without management approval or as provided by state law; and
  3. advise the client to close all lines of credit and refrain from obtaining future credit without consulting with the organization.
Interpretation: Based on individual client needs, the organization may advise the client to retain one active credit card in good standing for emergency situations.

 

FEC 7.03

Clients receive written materials from the organization that disclose:
  1. whether DMPs are used for secured, unsecured, or both forms of debt; 
  2. the dual role DMPs serve in helping clients repay debts and creditors receive monies owed to them; 
  3. client responsibilities;
  4. an enumeration of debts included in the plan and the proposed payment for each creditor; 
  5. the total debt owed as disclosed by the client, and the total DMP debt;
  6. that a creditor’s contribution to the organization, if any, will not affect the organization’s willingness to work with the client’s creditors;
  7. that the client’s account is always credited with 100 percent of the amount paid;
  8. that the client is responsible for alerting the organization to any discrepancies between its statement to the client and the amount posted on the statement from the creditor; 
  9. information about the benefits of increasing payment amounts to speed debt liquidation; and
  10. the impact of late or missed deposits to creditor payments and concessions.

 

FEC 7.04

The DMP agreement contains:
  1. the client’s signature, made before the initial disbursement;
  2. a statement regarding the client’s right to cancel the DMP contract within a specified period;
  3. the estimated timeframe for completing service objectives, barring unforeseen developments;
  4. estimated finance charges or creditor fees associated with payment plans or extensions that may increase total indebtedness; and
  5. an estimate of total fees to be paid to the organization over the term of the agreement.

Interpretation

Information listed above may be included in a similar document, such as an amortization schedule or payout schedule.

Interpretation

Regarding bullet d, the organization should indicate, when applicable, that the estimated fees are based on current creditor polices and may change over time.