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Ask The Credit Expert

The National Foundation for Consumer Credit and USA Today will team up this week to hold a national 12-hour telephone call-in to help consumers with credit problems.. The “Ask-the-Expert” event is being held in conjunction with the NFCC annual conference underway this morning in Atlanta. More than 100 member counselor volunteers will field calls pertaining to credit and debt, this Wednesday from 9am-9pm. USA Today will promote the event and feature special articles reviewing the growth of consumer debt and offering assorted credit tips.

Last year, more than 1.1 million American families filed for personal bankruptcy. Many more are on the verge, evidenced by consumer credit debt reaching a new high of $1.2 trillion. As millions of Americans struggle with debt and credit problems, members of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit credit education and counseling organization are gathering to discuss the current situation and how to help consumers in financial trouble.

Members from the more than 1,300 National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) offices across the U.S. will gather in Atlanta, GA later this month (September 28-October 1) for the NFCC Annual Conference. This year, in the light of the current economic conditions and recent changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, counselors will discuss extending outreach efforts to local communities, implementing innovations in counseling techniques and improving client services.

A highlight of this year’s conference is “Ask-the-Expert,” an exciting partnership between NFCC and USA Today. “Ask-the-Expert,” to be held from 9 am to 9 pm (EST) on October 1, will feature almost 100 NFCC member counselor volunteers who will take calls from people all over the nation with credit and debt questions. This event is one example of the ways in which NFCC reaches out to individuals in trouble.

“We are thrilled about working with USA Today to put on the “Ask-the-Expert” telephone call-in,” says Durant Abernethy, president of NFCC. “This session will enable some of the millions of Americans with financial questions to get referrals to the community resources that NFCC Annual Conference to be in Atlanta add one can assist them.” NFCC expects to handle thousands of inquiries throughout the 12 hour call-in.

The 1997 conference, scheduled for the Marriott Marquis, features regional meetings, roundtable sessions and almost 40 workshops for NFCC member counselors. Some of the workshop topics include welfare reform, retirement plans, bankruptcy and hiring tips.

One particularly timely event that will be discussed at the annual conference is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which goes into effect on October 1, 1997. The FCRA is designed to promote accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of every consumer reporting agency (CRA). To better help their clients, NFCC counselors will be apprised of the details of this act which include the following: you must be told if information in your file has been used against you; you can find out what is in your file; you can ask to make your name unavailable for credit offers; inaccurate information must be quickly corrected or deleted.

The host member of the NFCC annual conference is Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta. Headquartered in Atlanta, CCCS has offices in Athens, Carrollton, Decatur, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Gainesville, Marietta, Norcross, Rome, Toccoa and throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area.

To learn more about budgeting and using credit or to receive confidential money management counseling, contact a local NFCC member agency. NFCC members can be identified by the NFCC member seal. This seal signifies standards that include agency accreditation, counselor certification and policies that ensure confidential services that are free or low-cost. Many members operate under the name Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

To locate the nearest NFCC member office, call toll-free, 24 hours a day, 1-800-388-2227 or visit the NFCC Home Page at Spanish speaking consumers can call 1-800-682-9832.

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