We understand that you came to Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northern Illinois, Inc. f/k/a CCCS of Northern Illinois, Inc. because you are experiencing financial problems and that you may be considering filing for bankruptcy and are required to receive approved counseling before you may file. CCCS is approved by the Executive Office of the U.S. Trustee to do pre-bankruptcy counseling and issue certificates in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code 11U.S.C.111. The U.S. Trustee has neither reviewed nor approved any other services we offer to clients.
CCCS has over 23 years of experience helping people with financial problems. Our role is to provide assistance, not to be judgmental. Specifically, we will do a budget analysis that will examine your financial situation, discuss the factors that may be the cause of your problems and explore options for developing a reasonable plan for dealing with them. We will provide you with information about bankruptcy, including its process and possible consequences, including a negative effect on your credit score. We will also consider alternatives to bankruptcy to resolve your problems. We believe that the purpose of this session is to provide you with information, so that you may choose the option that you think is best. At the conclusion of this session, you will be provided a certificate that you will need should you decide to file for bankruptcy. You will only receive a certificate if you complete the entire session. If you are completing the first part of the pre-filing bankruptcy course on-line, you will be required to also complete a session by phone with a counselor and you will only receive a certificate if you complete the on-line portion and the phone session. The certificate is valid for up to 180 days after the counseling session is completed.
CCCS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (“NFCC”). The NFCC has high standards for quality credit counseling and financial education and this agency complies with those standards. In addition, this agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (“COA”), an independent third-party organization that reviews and monitors entities that provide social services. We are a not-for-profit agency. We are organized and operate in accordance with Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code and are licensed by the State of Illinois Department of Financial Institutions..
The consumer credit counselor conducting or supervising this session has been trained in accordance with the NFCC standards, and while he/she has expertise in helping with those financial problems, he/she cannot provide you with legal advice. In fact, this session is designed to provide you with information and alternatives; it is not intended to take the place of a consultation with an attorney to explore your legal rights and options.
In order to assist you, it is essential that you provide us with information that is as accurate and complete as possible. For that reason we may ask you to authorize us to access your credit history. Be assured that the information concerning your financial condition and status that you provide us during this session is strictly confidential. Such information would include, but is not limited to: income, debts, credit accounts, earnings, assets and employment data. We will not disclose any such information that you provide orally or in writing to anyone, except as authorized by you in writing; as part of a compliance review; to the United State Trustee in their oversight of this agency or during the investigation of complaints, during on-site visits or during quality service reviews; or as required by law, such as in response to a subpoena. We may compile data and aggregate information that you give us, but this information will not be disclosed in any manner that would personally identify you. This agency will not disclose or provide any information about this session to a credit reporting agency.
One of your options may be to negotiate an alternative payment schedule with regard to your unsecured debt. If you should decide to enter into a Debt Management Plan (“DMP”), (which will be explained in the course of this session) that we can provide, you will be provided with a separate agreement and disclosure forms. If a DMP appears to be a viable option for you, CCCS is required to provide the details of that plan along with your certificate. If you choose a DMP, you may incur additional fees which will be explained to you should you be interested in this program.
To help cover the cost of providing this session to you, this agency requests a fee of $50 for one person and $75 for a couple who have filed jointly. Individuals with household incomes under 150% of the federal poverty guideline may be entitled to a reduced fee or fee waiver. If you think you qualify for a fee waiver please call us at 815-338-5757. Client fees may be paid by personal check, money order or debit card. Third party payments (attorneys, etc.) may be made by credit card.
CCCS’ counselors can counsel clients in English and Spanish. Other languages can be counseled, however, the client will be required to provide a translator, or the client can go to the U.S. Trustee website at http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/ccde/index.htm to find an organization offering counseling in their desired language.
The agency also receives funding in the form of grants from United Way, the McHenry County Mental Health Board, CDBG, HUD, Citicorp, Bank of America, the Bersted Foundation, the McHenry County Mental Health Resource League, local banks and donations from major creditors who participate in our clients’ Debt Management programs. Since creditors have a financial interest in having debts repaid, most are willing to make contributions to help fund the services of this agency. The contributions are calculated as a percentage of payments made through DMP’s. The Debt Management Program serves the dual purpose of repaying your creditors while reducing your debt. Again, should you decide to enter a Debt Management Plan, you will receive specific information on how the plan works and how the agency is funded.
We may also use aggregated case file information for the purpose of evaluating our services, gathering valuable research information and designing future programs. Your anonymity will be maintained through the use of your client number or by using aggregate data in all circumstances.
In all other situations, your information may be released to appropriate individuals or agencies ONLY UPON YOUR WRITTEN REQUEST OR when our staff has been served by a valid subpoena.
The following PRIVACY PRACTICES detail circumstances under which we will release your information to a third party:
o Information we receive from you on applications or other forms, such as your name, address, social security number, assets, and income;
o Information about your transactions with us, your creditors, or others, such as your account balance, payment history, parties to transactions and credit card usage; and
o Information we receive from a credit reporting agency, such as your credit history.
Authorization: I understand that by participating in this counseling I am giving CCCS my permission to submit data to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Hope Loan Portal (HLP) or other relevant entities to assist me in resolving my financial situation for the purposes of grant reimbursement and to allow HUD, the US Treasury, NeighborWorks or other entities access to my files and/or to contact me regarding the services received to ensure compliance with the terms of a grant and that all these disclosures have been made to me by CCCS.