Offsite Counseling Outpaces Face-to-Face
The traditional mental picture of credit counseling has an adviser and a client sitting together. The look-them-in-the-eye, get to really know them idea.
However, there seems to be a good chance that today’s counseling session will take place on the phone or over the Internet. At least that’s happening at Clear Point Credit Counseling Service, headquartered in Richmond, Va.
“Payday lenders are a huge red flag,” added R. Kirk Adams, a counselor at $1.6 billion Langley FCU in Hampton, Va. “That’s a sign of financial instability right there. Online payday lenders are a tough problem. They’re like vampires. Once they get hold of a member’s account numbers, basically the only solution is to shut the account down and force them to settle. Clear Point can help negotiate a settlement or repayment plan, much like they do with credit card companies.”
Although economic pressures on members have eased off a bit, Adams said both he and the Clear Point counselor are busy. He used to be booked out a week or two weeks ahead. Now his schedule is filled a month in advance. He’s like emergency room staff conducting triage to determine the most urgent problems.