Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mortgage Casualties Flocking to the NFCC for Free Assistance!

There hasn't been a whole lot of good news on the economic front in recent weeks and the mortgage crisis has inspired our politicians to mortgage our grandchildren's future. Ironically, most of the experts believe it all started with what is being called the "mortgage crisis."

Even worse, the average person is merely a hostage in the equation because, without the bailouts, there is little doubt it would cause more pain and suffering for the common person. Still it's pretty disgusting to see corporate suit types getting millions of dollars in bonuses and showing up in Washington with their hands out after failing in their jobs. So far, we haven't seen much help for the people funding this massive bail-out, but if you look hard enough, there are a few places where an average person can get a little help free-of-charge.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is one of the few places helping the little people dig out of the mess that has been created by, in my opinion, a few greedy people. The NFCC is getting busier all the time, registering 70 percent more calls for help than they did last year in October. For the year, they are registering 30 percent more calls. Sadly, this statistic might reflect that more people are reaching out for help.

The NFCC has been around since 1951 and is considered the longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. They provide free financial advice at over 850 offices located throughout the country. Consumers can take a Mortgages Reality CheckSM, a self-assessment test that determines one's risk of foreclosure. Year to date, statistics reflect a 33 percent increase in people taking this test. Even worse, those showing up in the red danger zone have increased 15 percent compared to last year. Statistics also reveal that the number of people seeking counseling from the NFCC has grown 63 percent over last year.

If you were to go by these statistics, the mortgage crisis is getting worse. To rise to the challenge, the NFCC has increased the staff of NFCC-Certified Credit Counselors 10 percent (almost 2,600). They have also increased the number of NFCC-Certified Housing Counselors by 25 percent.

“Arguably, we’re living in the worst economic times of our lifetime. Consumers are smart to reach out for help, and doing so sooner rather than later is always preferable. Whatever your financial problem may be, you do not have to go through it alone,” according to Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.

The NFCC can help people online, or by calling (800) 388-2227. For a Spanish-speaking counselor, call (800) 682-9832. Their website also has a Spanish version.