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CUs must pay for NFCC counseling line in July
WASHINGTON (5/11/11)--The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) on Tuesday said that it and various member agencies “can no longer bear the full cost of operating the NFCC CARD Act National Locator Line (NLL)” and would begin charging for the service on July 1. The NLL is a third-party service that provides credit union members and other financial services consumers with a list of local credit counselors. The NLL provides these local counselors after cardholders call a toll-free phone number and input their zip code into the automated NLL system. The caller is then supplied with the name, address, phone number and Web site address of three nonprofit credit counseling agencies that have been approved by a United States bankruptcy trustee or bankruptcy administrator. Credit unions and other financial institutions are required to prominently display on their statements a toll-free number providing cardholders information about accessing debt management services and credit counseling with nonprofit credit counseling agencies. This information has been required since Feb. 22, 2010. The requirement is a result of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. Creditors are allowed to provide their own toll-free services or to engage with third-party providers. The NFCC and others offered the service for free during the first 14 months following its release, but said that use of the NFCC CARD Act NLL will soon cost a minimum of $80 per month when prepaid for 12 months. The NLL program served over 430 institutions since it started, and many credit unions nationwide are signed on to use this service. "Not only will this information help make consumers aware that help is available, but it will add a layer of protection by directing them to government-approved nonprofit counseling agencies for assistance," NFCC said.


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