Pre-Filing Bankruptcy Disclosure

PRE-FILING BANKRUPTCY DISCLOSURE

Welcome! Below is our pre-filing bankruptcy disclosure. We understand your financial problems are causing you to consider filing bankruptcy that requires you to receive “counseling” before you file. *Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area, Inc. (CCCS) is approved to issue certificates evidencing completion of a budget and credit counseling course in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code. Approval does not endorse or assure the quality of an Agency’s services.

This agency has over 40 years of experience in helping people with financial problems through educational information and non-judgmental assistance. We will provide a budget analysis that will examine your financial situation, discuss factors that may be the cause of your problems, and explore your options for developing a reasonable plan for dealing with them. We will provide you with information about bankruptcy, including its process and possible consequences. We will also consider alternatives to bankruptcy to resolve your financial problems. It is our view 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 with a certificate that you will need should you decide to file for bankruptcy. Credit counseling certificates are valid for up to 180 days after course completion.

As a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), our agency complies with NFCC’s high standards for quality credit counseling and financial education. This agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an independent third-party organization that reviews and monitors parties that provide social services. We are a non-profit agency in accordance with Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The consumer credit counselor conducting your interview has been trained and certified in accordance with NFCC standards, and while he/she has expertise in helping those with financial problems, he/she cannot provide you with legal advice. 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. Clients with limited English proficiency will need to request a translator when the appointment is scheduled or opt to have their own translator available for the counseling.

It is essential that you provide us with information that is as accurate and complete as possible. We may ask you to authorize us to access your credit history. The information you provide concerning your financial condition and status is confidential but may need to be disclosed to the EOUST. 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 or as required by law, such as in response to a subpoena. We may compile data and aggregate information from data that you give us, but this information will not be disclosed in any manner that would personally identify you. This agency will not provide any information about this session to a credit-reporting agency. If you enter into a Debt Management Plan (DMP—that will be explained during this interview) you will be provided with a separate agreement and disclosure forms. The EOUST has reviewed only the provider’s instructional services and no other services the provider may offer.

To help cover the cost of providing this session to you, this agency charges a fee of $50.00 for individuals or $75.00 for a couple. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to have this fee waived. Services will be provided without regard to the ability to pay.

This agency also receives funding in the form of grants from entities that support financial counseling, state, and governmental units, and creditors. A significant portion of funding for this agency comes from voluntary contributions from creditors who participate in Debt Management Plans. Since creditors have a financial interest in having debts paid, most are willing to make a contribution to help fund the overall services of this agency. These contributions are usually calculated as a percentage of payments that are made through a DMP. Again, should you decide to enter into a DMP, you will receive specific information on how the plan works and how the agency is funded.

PRIVACY NOTICE

CCCS is committed to assuring the privacy of individuals and/or families who have contacted us for assistance. We assure you that all information shared both orally and in writing will be managed within legal and ethical considerations. Your “personal financial information”, such as your total debt information, income, living expenses and personal information concerning your financial circumstances, will be provided to creditors, and possibly others, with your specific authorization.

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 the circumstances under which we will release your information to a third party:

  1. We do not disclose any nonpublic personal information about our customers or former customers to anyone, except as permitted by law.

  1. We may compile data and aggregate information that you give to us, but this information may not be disclosed in a manner that would personally identify you in any way.

  1. We may disclose some or all of the information that we collect, as described below, to creditors, or third parties that you have authorized who need this information in order for us to assist you after a counseling session.

  1. We may disclose all of the information that we collect, as described below, to creditors and related financial institutions who need this information in order to put you on a Debt Management Plan (DMP).

  1. We restrict access to nonpublic personal information about you to those employees who need to know that information to provide services to you. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with federal regulations to guard your nonpublic personal information.

  1. We collect nonpublic personal information about you from the following sources:

      • Information we received from you on our applications or other forms you provide;

      • Information about your transactions with us, your creditors, or others; and

    • Information we receive from a credit reporting agency.

7. We may disclose the following kinds of nonpublic personal information about you:

    • Information we receive from you on applications or other forms, such as your name, address, social security number, assets, and income;

    • 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

  • Information we receive from a credit reporting agency, such as your credit history.

STATEMENT OF COUNSELING

The agency will provide a confidential comprehensive personal money management interview.

A certified consumer credit counselor or qualified professional counselor will conduct the interview. All action plans not conducted by a certified consumer credit counselor will be reviewed by a certified consumer credit counselor.

Listed below is the Client Bill of Rights, Non-Discrimination Policy and the Complaint Resolution Process. In the event you are dissatisfied, you can utilize the Complaint Resolution Process.

You will hold the agency, its employees, agents, and volunteers harmless from any claim, suit, action or demand of my creditors, myself or any other person resulting from advice or counseling. Nothing herein shall apply to actions or claims under the provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. Sec. 101 et seq.

There is a one-time fee of $125 for reverse mortgage counseling. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to have this fee waived. Services will be provided regardless of the ability to pay.

Most of the agency’s funding comes from voluntary contributions from creditors who participate in the Debt Management Plan (DMP). 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 by each creditor as a percentage of the payment (up to 15%) you make through your DMP. However, your accounts with your creditors will always be credited with one hundred percent (100%) of the amount you pay through us and we will work with all your creditors, regardless of whether they contribute to our agency.

You will be given a written assessment outlining a suggested client action plan, which will be based on the following options:

a) You will handle any financial concerns on your own.

b) You may choose to enroll in the agency’s Debt Management Plan (DMP). Our DMP serves a dual role of helping you pay your debts and helping the creditors to receive the money owed to them. CCCS’ DMP is used for unsecured debts only.

c) Under the Debt Management Plan, the agency serves as a neutral third party in negotiating with creditors to liquidate financial obligations. The monthly fee for the Debt Management Plan is 7.5% of total monthly disbursement, not to exceed $40 a month (GA resident); $10 per creditor, not to exceed $50 a month (SC resident). The agency has no responsibility for any past, present, or future credit rating you receive; in certain circumstances, a Debt Management Plan may affect my credit rating negatively. In the event that the counselor suggests a Debt Management Plan, you will receive complete details of the administration, requirements, and responsibilities.

d) A counselor may answer questions about bankruptcy, but not give legal advice. If you want legal advice, I will be referred for appropriate assistance. While an attorney can make a recommendation to file bankruptcy, it is a personal choice based on individual circumstances. You will inform the agency of the decision if I file bankruptcy.

e) You will be referred to the other services of the organization or another agency or agencies, as appropriate that may be able to assist with particular problems that have been identified.

Receipt of financial counseling services does not automatically guarantee participation in a Debt Management Plan.

CLIENT BILL OF RIGHTS

We pledge that our clients have the right,

To prompt counseling services for managing money based on their financial situation;

To treat with dignity and respect;

To be actively involved in a comprehensive assessment of their financial situation including an

appropriate action plan;

To express dissatisfaction through a Complaint Resolution Process;

To discontinue their relationship with our agency at any time;

To ask questions and to have concerns addressed.

COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESS

We are committed to providing you with high-quality professional services. However, if you are not satisfied with the services provided or if you want to make a complaint, we ask that you follow these guidelines.

Step One Try to resolve the issue with the staff member involved giving him or her specific information about your complaint.

Step Two: If Step One is not possible or the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, write or call the staff member’s departmental supervisor at (912) 691-2227.

Step Three: Agency may request a meeting with you (phone or face-to-face) or seek more information from a staff person. The agency will respond within 15 days.

Step Four: If your issue is still unresolved, you may appeal in writing directly to the President of CCCS of the Savannah Area, Inc., 7505 Waters Ave., Suite C-11, Savannah GA 31406. After additional fact-finding, this individual will provide a concluding decision to you within 15 days.

Consumers may contact the South Carolina Department of Community Affairs at (803) 734-4200 or toll-free at 1-800-922-1594 if the consumer has complaints about the credit counseling services received.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

Our Agency serves all members of the community. We do not engage in the practices of discrimination in the selection and participation of clients in our programs or services with respect to age, race, religion, color, gender, sexual preference, national origin, or handicap.

FEE WAIVER POLICY

If your gross income is less than the federal poverty level listed below, your fee will be waived.

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

PERSONS IN FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD

POVERTY GUIDELINE

150%

 

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,540 for each additional person.

1

$12,880

$19,320

 

2

$17,420

$26,130

 

3

$21,960

$32,940

 

4

$26,500

$39,750

 

5

$31,040

$46,560

 

6

$35,580

$53,370

 

7

$40,120

$60,180

 

8

$44,660

$66,990

 

Should you have any questions about our pre-filing bankruptcy disclosure, please contact CCCS at 912-691-2227 or click here.