Home About DMS FAQ Testimonials

 




About Family Foundations

Family Foundations is the premier financial and family counseling and education organization in Northeast Florida, operating Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Jacksonville. We have helped over 120,000 families in the last 50 years take control of their financial future, buy a first home, save their marriage, cope with a troubled child or pay off debts and restore their credit.

The answers start
with a solid foundation.


We are a United Way agency and are supported by numerous foundations, corporations and individuals throughout our community.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Credit Counseling Session?
A Credit Counseling Session is an overview of your total financial situation.  It can be done on the telephone or in person.  During this session, a certified counselor will review all of your income, expenses and debts.  At the conclusion of this comprehensive session, the credit counselor will make recommendations to help you get back on track financially (one of which may be a debt management program).
 
In order to ensure your counseling session is the best it can be, it is
important to have the following information on hand:
  • Current statements from your creditors
  • Current paycheck or information as to your income
  • A good idea of what living expenses you have ( rent, utilities, food, etc.)
For additional information about our credit counseling service, visit www.familyfoundations.org.
 
 
How long does the credit counseling session take?
 
The average credit counseling session will last about one hour.  This may vary depending on your specific situation.  Beware of agencies that claim they can help you get rid of your debt in 15 minutes or less.  These types of agencies may be trying to push you into their program without providing the full benefits of a credit counseling session.


What is a Debt Management Program?
A Debt Management Program is a payment plan between you, Family Foundations and your unsecured creditors.  In this plan, creditors agree to offer special concessions to help you get out of debt.  These concessions may include reducing your interest rates and stopping late and over-limit fees.  This plan can reduce the months or years of repayment.  

When will my creditors be contacted?
The following items must be received before your creditors are contacted:
  • A Debt Management Agreement signed by all individuals on the plan.
  • The most current statements from all your creditors.
  • First payment.
 How will my creditors be contacted?
As soon as your file is completed, your creditors will receive a proposal letter from Family Foundations.  The proposal letter will disclose your balance and the proposed payment.
 
 What if a creditor refuses to accept the plan ?
Most creditors do accept our proposals, as we are familiar with their policies.  Your payment is within the guidelines set by each creditor.  Occasionally a creditor does not accept the proposed payment.  The creditors reserve the right to change or discontinue interest concessions at any time.  Some do not offer information as to what payment they will or will not accept.  Our DMP Coordinator will notify you if there is a problem with the proposed payment amount.  The creditor may only want to increase the payment by a few dollars.  If a creditor refuses to work with us, you will be advised to handle the account on your own.
 
 How will I know if my payments are being sent ?
After your first payment, you can view your monthly Client Statement which will reflect how your funds were disbursed that month.  Verify that the statement reflects the payment arrangements discussed with your counselor during your initial session.
 
 Will I still get bills / invoices from my creditors ?
In most cases, clients continue to receive statements from their creditors.  It is critical that you compare your monthly creditor statements with the client statement to verify that the creditors have properly posted payments and adjusted interest rates as indicated on the Creditor Information Sheet you received at your initial session.  It is your responsibility to notify the DMP Coordinator if any discrepancies occur.  If your account balance seems to be increasing rather than decreasing , your account is in negative amortization.  This occurs when your payment is not enough to cover the interest charges.  It is against Family Foundations policy to set up a plan that results in negative amortization.  Please contact the DMP Coordinator immediately if this occurs. If you do not receive a statement from your creditor each months, it is your responsibility to contact that creditor by telephone to ensure that your payment has been properly posted and interest properly adjusted.
 
 Will my Creditors still call me?
Creditors may call you even though you are paying your bills through Family Foundations. A courteous response to your creditors will go a long way toward maintaining a good relationship. If the creditors state that they have not received a proposal letter from us, or want confirmation that you are with us, ask them to call Family Foundations to speak with the DMP Coordinator at (904) 398-3421. If a creditor indicates that they will not deal with Family Foundations, notify the DMP Coordinator.
 
 Can my creditors take me to court ?
In the unlikely event that you are taken to court while you are on the Debt Management Plan, be sure to appear in court at the specified time and provide the judge or mediator with a copy of your Family Foundations paperwork and the bills that are listed.  Please contact your counselor if this occurs.
 
 When is my deposit due?
Your deposit is due on either the 3rd or the 17th of each month.  Once you pick the due date that is right for you, you must be consistent with that due date.  If, for example, you miss your due date on the 3rd, and you send your deposit in by the 17th, it will be disbursed.  You must be aware, however, that the creditors may report this to the credit bureau as a late payment and assess you a late charge.
 
 Will Family Foundations accept my personal check?
  1. Your initial two payments must be made with a money order or certified bank check. These paymnets must be made payable to Family Foundations of Northeast Florida and delivered in person or by mail to 1639 Atlantic Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207.  Personal checks and cash will not be accepted.
  2. Please print your name, address and client number clearly on your money order or cashier's check to ensure that your payment is properly posted to your account.
  3. Your 3rd payment and all future payments will be paid by automatic withdrawal from your bank account (ACH).
  How long will it take to pay off my bills?
The length of your program depends on how many creditors you have, the total amount of debts, the interest charged on your accounts and the amount of your payment.  You will be sent a Payout Forecast after your first payments has been disbursed.  It gives you an estimate for when each which creditor will be paid in full.
 
 May I pay off my creditors directly?
NO.  Creditor cooperation with Family Foundations is based on our assurance that they will be treated fairly in the allocation of funds.  We cannot allow more favorable treatment for one creditor.  Therefore, we require all unsecured consumer debts to be included on the program.  It is imperative that all payments are made through Family Foundations. 
 
 What happens if I have extra money and want to pay off my accounts early?
You may have extra money in your debt management account as your account balances reach zero.  Unless there has been substantial change in circumstances, your debt management payment will remain the same.  When you see an account balance nearing zero, contact the DMP Coordinator so that the extra money can be added to another creditor payment.
 
If you have additional funds and would like to pay off your accounts early, we would be happy to do that as well.  Call your creditors to verify your final payment amount.  You and the DMP Coordinator will collect the final payoff balances and set your accounts up for disbursement.  Don't be upset if your final creditor statements show a small finance charge for the amount due.  This frequently happens because of different billing cycles.  You should pay that amount directly to your creditor.
 
Our goal is to help you become debt free as soon as you are able to do so.  We encourage you to send extra money in whenever you are able.  This money will be proportionally divided among your creditors.
 
 How does the Debt Management Program affect my credit rating ?
Many creditors will bring an account current upon acceptance of a proposed payment arrangement from Family Foundations.  Your creditor would then report to the credit bureau that the account is current.  Some creditors may not be so cooperative and may continue to show a delinquency on your report despite their acceptance of Family Foundations proposal arrangements.  In addition, a problem may arise with the due date.  Some creditors will change the due date and may report to the credit bureau that payments are late.  It is your responsibility to monitor your creditor statements.  If a late fee is assessed. call the creditor to see what may be worked out to prevent late fees and negative reports to the credit bureau.
 
There is no way to "erase" bad credit from your credit report unless it is inaccurate.  Although Family Foundations does not report to the credit bureaus, the creditors may report that your account is now being paid through Family Foundations.  This can be viewed negatively since working with Family Foundations is a good indication that you were having trouble paying your bills on your own.  If you have good credit now, participation in the Debt Management Program could have a negative impact on your credit report.
 
When your debts are paid, the balance owed will change on your credit bureau report.  If there were slow or late payments on that account, that entry will remain for seven years from the last activity date.
 
 Can I change or obtain a loan while I am on the Debt Management Program ?
No !  One of the reasons your creditors have agreed to reduce or waive your interest rate, and accept a smaller payment is that you have signed a contract agreeing not to incur any new debt.  If an emergency occurs, please contact the DMP Coordinator.  Incurring new debt while on the program will result in termination from the program.  Family Foundations will not be responsible for the actions that the creditors may take in this situation.
 
 What happens if I run into problems with my monthly budget ?
  • Schedule an appointment with your financial counselor to re-evaluate your budget.
  • Attend a money management class.  Please see the schedule in your packet.
  • Ask for money management literature from our resource library.
  • You may be eligible for a payment restructure.  Call for an appointment with your counselor.
 What happens if I withdraw from the program prior to paying my debts in full ?
This is a voluntary program involving yourself, your creditors, and Family Foundations.  We discourage you from dropping out of the program before completion.  It will negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.  If you drop out for any reason and later wish to be set up on the Debt Management Program again, you will have to meet with your counselor to re-evaluate the appropriateness of your plan, submit new proposals to your creditors and sign a new contract.  Some creditors will not accept second proposals.  Another counseling fee will be due to Family Foundations.
 

What happens when I complete the program ?

You will receive a free copy of your credit report.  You will be provided with a graduate certificate that may be copied and shown to creditors to prove your success with this program.

 
 What can I do to help my program be successful ?
  • Keep in touch and inform the DMP Coordinator of any problems.
  • Mail your deposits on time.
  • Use the DMS Web System to make changes to your name, address, marital status or employment as well as any changes that the creditors might advise you of ( mailing address, collection activity, etc. ).
  • When you receive the Debt Management Update Form, please make sure to return it with the correct information so that we will have accurate information.
  • Monitor your creditor statements to ensure proper credit of payments, interest reductions on accounts, late changes and dropped over the limit fees have been recorded.
  • Consider removing any credit life insurance you may be paying for on your credit cards.
  • Don't panic if you don't understand something.  We've been dealing successfully with concerned creditors and clients for more than 20 years.  policy to set up a plan that results in negative amortization.  Please contact the DMP Coordinator immediately if this occurs. If you do not receive a statement from your creditor each months, it is your responsibility to contact that creditor by telephone to ensure that your payment has been properly posted and interest properly adjusted.