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About Us

  • Legal Disclosures

     LSS Financial Counseling Service is an accredited and licensed credit counseling and debt management service provider.

    We respect your privacy and confidentiality. To learn what information is collected and how it is protected, please review our Privacy Policy.

    The following information, policies and legal disclosures are outlined below:
    Statement of Counseling Services
    Client Bill of Rights
    Complaint Resolution Policy
    Schedule of Fees
    State Disclosures

  • Statement of Counseling Services

    Since 1987, LSS Financial Counseling Service has helped people achieve financial peace of mind through full service, thoughtful, and trustworthy counseling. To ensure that you have the information you need to make an informed choice about your options, this Statement of Counseling Services outlines important information you need to know about our organization and services.

    • I understand the agency will provide a confidential comprehensive personal money management interview at no charge and that the interview may be monitored by a supervisor for quality assurance purposes only.
    • I understand that the interview will be conducted by a certified consumer credit counselor or qualified professional counselor. All action plans not prepared by a certified counselor will be reviewed by a certified consumer credit counselor.
    • I understand that in the event that I am dissatisfied, I can utilize the Complaint Resolution Process.
    • I understand that the agency does not guarantee results.
    • I understand that most of the agency funding comes from voluntary contributions from creditors who participate in the 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 as a percentage of payments I make through my DMP-up to fifteen percent (15%) of each payment received. However, my accounts with my creditors will always be credited one hundred percent (100%) of the amount I pay through LSS and LSS will work with my creditors regardless of whether they contribute to the agency;
    • I will be given a written assessment outlining a suggested client action plan which will be based on the following options:
      • I will handle any financial concerns on my own;
      • I will be referred to 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. My counselor may provide a list of referrals for community resources, affordable housing, consumer legal advice, attorney assisted options, bankruptcy legal counsel, lending, and other financial institutions. I am under no obligation to use these referrals and I am always free to choose my own providers and services;
      • A counselor may answer questions about bankruptcy, but not give legal advice. If I 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;
      • I may choose to enroll in the agency’s Debt Management Plan (DMP). DMP’s serve the dual role of helping me repay my debts and helping the creditors to receive the money owed to them;
    • If I choose by verbal acknowledgement to allow LSS to pull my credit report, an inquiry by the agency may be listed on my report.
    • While LSS may obtain a credit report and/or inform any credit reporting agency of my participation in a DMP, the agency has no responsibility or obligation for any past, present, or future credit rating I receive. In certain circumstances, a DMP may affect my credit rating negatively. In the event that the counselor suggests a DMP, I will receive details of the operations, requirements and responsibilities.
    • If I choose to enroll in a DMP, I may cancel the program at any time without penalty;
    • Per state law, if a DMP creditor forgives part of the balance I owe them, the amount forgiven may be taxable income to me.
    • At sometime in the future, my information may be used for confidential research and/or a neutral third party may contact me to request an evaluation of the agency’s services. All confidential information is stored in a secure data base or locked files.


  • 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 treatment with dignity and respect;
    • To be actively involved in a comprehensive assessment of their financial situation including an appropriate action plan;
    • To access our service Monday through Friday during regular business hours;
    • To express dissatisfaction through a Complaint Resolution Process;
    • To discontinue their relationship with our agency at any time;
    • To ask questions and to have their concerns be addressed.


  • Complaint Resolution Policy

    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 complain, we ask that you follow these guidelines:

    • Step One: Try to resolve the issue with the staff member involved by 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, contact the LSS Financial Counseling Service Manager at the address or phone number listed below.
    • Step Three: The 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 5 business days.
    • Step Four: If your issue is still unresolved, you may appeal in writing directly to the Financial Services Director, LSS Financial Counseling Service, 424 W. Superior Street, Suite 600, Duluth, MN 55802. After additional fact finding, this individual will provide a concluding decision to you within 15 business days.


  • Fee Schedule

    LSS Financial Counseling collects fees for some services.

    Note: While these fees will apply in most circumstances, no one will be denied services for inability to pay. Some services, like bankruptcy pre-filing counseling and bankruptcy pre-discharge education, have a set standard for waiver of fees. For all other services, if a client is unable to pay, counseling and administration staff should consult a manager for clarification.

    Type of Service   

    Fee

    Additional Information
    Bankruptcy Pre-Filing Counseling $75.00  Fee includes the Certificate of Counseling required to file bankruptcy.
    Bankruptcy Pre-Discharge Education $40.00  Fee includes the Certificate of Debtor Education required prior to the discharge of bankruptcy.
    Budget Counseling Appointments n/a  It is the policy of LSS Financial Counseling Service to provide budget counseling appointments free of charge regless of whether the client enters into an agreement.
    Credit Report Review n/a  
    Foreclosure Prevention Counseling  n/a  LSS Financial Counseling Service provides HUD-Certified Counseling.

    Debt Management Program (DMP)

    DMP Set-up Fee
    DMP Credit Report Review
    DMP Monthly Service Fee

     

    Unless limited by state law:
    $35.00
    $0
    Max. $50.00

    Fees for Debt Management Plans are based on where a person lives. For specific fees in your state, please call 1.888.577.2227.
    Reverse Mortgage Counseling Varies  For specific fees related to Reverse Mortgage Counseling, please call 1.888.577.2227.
       



  • State Disclosures

    Residents of California
    Complaints related with LSS Financial Counseling may be directed to the California Department of Corporations. This nonprofit community service organization has adopted best practices for debt management plans and debt settlement plans and a copy will be provided upon request.

    Residents of Illinois
    LSS Financial Counseling does not lend money. Except in the case of violations of Illinois law, willful misconduct or grow negligence by LSS Financial Counseling, I shall hold LSS harmless from any claim, suite, action or demand by any creditor or person arising out of, or connected with, its advice or counseling, or the establishing of the DMP.

    Residents of Maryland
    The Commissioner of Financial Regulation for the State of Maryland will accept any questions and complaints from Maryland residents regarding Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota d/b/a LSS Financial Counseling, License Number 14-69, at 500 N. Calvert St., Room 402, Baltimore, MD 21202. Phone: 1-888-784-0136.

    Residents of Michigan 
    Licensed by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services
    License #DM-0017139

    Section 13(1)
    Upon establishing a debt management plan for a debtor, a licensee may charge and receive an initial fee of $50.00. However, unless 51% or more in number or dollar amount of all the debtor’s creditors consent to the debt management program within 90 days of establishing the debt management plan, the licensee shall provide notice to the debtor of the lack of required consent and the debtor may, at its option, close the account. If the debtor decides to close the account, any unexpended funds shall be returned to the debtor or disbursed as directed by the debtor.

    Section 14(1)
    A contract between a licensee and debtor shall include all of the following:
    a) Each creditor to which payments will be made and the amount owed each creditor.
    b) The total amount of the licensee’s charges.
    c) The beginning and termination dates of the contract.
    d) The principal amount and approximate interest charges of the debtor’s obligations to be paid under the debt management plan.
    e) The name and address of the licensee and of the debtor.
    f) Any other provisions or disclosures that the director determines are necessary for the protection of the debtor and the proper conduct of business by a licensee.

    Section 18
    1. A licensee may charge a reasonable fee for providing debt management services under a debt management plan. The fees shall not exceed 15% of the amount of the debt to be liquidated during the express term of the plan.
    2. A licensee may offer a debtor the option to purchase credit reports or educational materials and products, and charge a fee to the debtor if the debtor elects to purchase any of those items from the licensee. Fees charged under this subsection are not subject to the 15% limitation on fees described in subsection (1).
    3. Except for a cancellation described in subsection (4), in the event of cancellation of or default in the performance of the contract by the debtor before its successful completion, a licensee may collect $25.00 in addition to any fees and charges of the licensee previously received by the licensee. This $25.00 fee is not subject to the 15% limitation on fees and charges under in subsection (1).
    4. A contract is in effect when it is signed by the licensee and the debtor and the debtor has made a payment of any amount to the licensee. The debtor has the right to cancel the contract until 12 midnight of the third business day after the first day the contract is in effect by delivering written notice of cancellation to the licensee. A cancellation described in this section is not subject to, and a licensee shall not collect, the fee described in subsection (3).
    5. If a debtor fails to make a payment of any amount to a licensee within 60 days after the date a payment is due under a contract, the licensee may, in its discretion, cancel the debt management contract if it determines that the plan is no longer suitable for the debtor, the debtor fails to affirmatively communicate to the licensee the debtor’s desire to continue the plan, or the creditors of the debtor refuse to continue accepting payments under the plan.
    6. A licensee shall not contract for, receive, or charge a debtor an amount greater than authorized by this act. A person that violates this subsection, except as the result of an inadvertent clerical or computer error, shall return to the debtor the amount of the payments received from or on behalf of the debtor and not distributed to creditors, and, as a penalty, an amount equal to the amount overcharged.

    Department of Insurance and Financial Services
    530 W. Allegan Street, 7th Floor
    Lansing, MI 48933
    517.284.8800 or 877.999.6442 (toll-free)