Credit Counselors

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Also known as:
Credit Counselor, Debt Management Counselor, Financial Assistance Advisor, Loan Counselor

ABOUT CREDIT COUNSELOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Most people dream of buying a house, a car, or going to college. But these things, and so many others, cost more money than most people have. That's where loan counselors come in. They help people find the best ways to borrow the money they need.

A loan counselor meets with a person applying for a loan. The counselor examines the applicant's financial records, including credit, property ownership, and existing debt. This determines just how much money the applicant may be able to borrow.

Some people have financial problems that can make it difficult for them to get a traditional loan. The counselor searches for alternatives. Once the appropriate loan has been determined, the counselor advises the applicant about the financial regulations and restrictions involved.

Loan counselors work in banks, colleges, and universities, mortgage firms, or credit unions. In addition to math skills, they must be detail-oriented, because their jobs entail a lot of paperwork. A loan counselor can also help in maintaining a customer's financial health. This could include a plan for paying off debt or finding a financial aid program for college.

Financial matters can be tedious and frustrating for both the loan counselor and the applicant, so a steady demeanor is helpful. You need to be able to listen carefully and explain complicated issues simply. A loan counselor usually has a college degree in finance, economics, or related fields. Computer skills are important, especially knowledge of loan application programs. If you like helping people a md you're good with numbers, your skills could "lend" themselves to a career as a loan counselor.

SNAPSHOT
Advise and educate individuals or organizations on acquiring and managing debt. May provide guidance in determining the best type of loan and explain loan requirements or restrictions. May help develop debt management plans or student financial aid packages. May advise on credit issues, or provide budget, mortgage, bankruptcy, or student financial aid counseling.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Teach courses or seminars on topics, such as budgeting, management of personal finances, or financial literacy.

Explain services or policies to clients, such as debt management program rules, advantages and disadvantages of using services, or creditor concession policies.

Negotiate with creditors on behalf of clients to arrange for payment adjustments, interest rate reductions, time extensions, or payment plans.

Explain loan information to clients, such as available loan types, eligibility requirements, or loan restrictions.

Recommend strategies for clients to meet their financial goals, such as borrowing money through loans or loan programs, declaring bankruptcy, making budget adjustments, or enrolling in debt management plans.

Conduct research to help clients avoid repossessions or foreclosures or remove levies or wage garnishments.

Create action plans to assist clients in obtaining permanent housing via rent or mortgage programs.

Review changes to financial, family, or employment situations to determine whether changes to existing debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets are needed.

Advise clients on housing matters, such as housing rental, homeownership, mortgage delinquency, or foreclosure prevention.

Create debt management plans, spending plans, or budgets to assist clients to meet financial goals.

Explain general financial topics to clients, such as credit report ratings, bankruptcy laws, consumer protection laws, wage attachments, or collection actions.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Performing Administrative Activities Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.