Money Management International

Money Management International
Type 501(C)(3) Corporation
Founded 1997[1] or 1981[2] or 1958[3]
Founder(s) Terry M. Blaney[4]
Headquarters Houston, Texas, United States
Services Personal Credit Counseling, Debt Management Services, Housing Services, Financial Education Services, Bankruptcy Counseling
Total equity $62,330,825 in 2007[5]
Website

http://www.moneymanagement.org/ http://es.moneymanagement.org/ http://www.mmintl.org/

http://www.mmifoundation.org/

Money Management International (MMI) is a Houston-based credit counseling agency offering services in 23 US states and the District of Columbia, as well as nationally via a toll-free hotline.[4][6] It does business under a variety of names, including: Consumer Credit Counseling Services;[6] Centers for Financial Education;[7] Credit Counseling Network; and Money Management International Financial Education Foundation.[8] A nonprofit agency, MMI is funded in part by public agencies and corporate sponsors. It also receives income from fees charged to consumers for certain services, as well as contributions from creditors when it helps them recover receivable debt.[9] Services include personal credit counseling, debt management (through debt management plans, or DMPs), foreclosure prevention, financial education, and bankruptcy counseling.[10] MMI bills itself as "the largest nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency in the United States." [11]

Contents

History

MMI has been in operation since 1958 according to its website, which provides little additional detail on the agency's history.[11]

Credit counseling in the US was developed in the early 1950s by a trade group of retail lenders (i.e., a group representing the creditors themselves). The trade group was known at that time as the National Foundation for Consumer Credit. (The NFCC changed its name to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in 2000.) It initially monitored legislative and regulatory activity for its members.[12] Expansion in the use of consumer credit and in the problems related to it prompted the NFCC to create the first Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) in 1951.[13] Over time, CCCS would grow to comprise more than 1,440 offices in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, operated by a number of independent agencies (e.g., CCCS of Central New Jersey, CCCS of the Gulf Coast Area, etc.).

Various independent CCCS agencies have been merging with MMI since 2000. On its website, MMI credits its former President and CEO, Terry M. Blaney, for spearheading a merger with CCCS of the Gulf Coast Area in September of that year. Blaney had previously worked as President and CEO of CCCS of the Gulf Coast Area.[11]

MMI has also previously done business as Money Management by Mail.[14]

MMI has completed 17 mergers since its inception, which have allowed MMI to become the nation’s largest full-service credit and debt counseling and education agency.[15][16]

The following consumer credit counseling organizations have merged with MMI since its inception, in chronological order:

  • CCCS of the Gulf Coast, August 31, 2000
  • CCCS of the Southwest, June 30, 2001 [17]
  • CCCS of Chicago, December 31, 2001
  • CCCS of Virginia, June 30, 2002 [18]
  • CCCS of Lehigh Valley, September 30, 2002
  • CCCS of Baton Rouge, October 31, 2002
  • CCCS of Denver, April 25, 2003
  • CCCS of San Diego, July 1, 2003 [19]
  • CCCS of the East Bay, September 17, 2003
  • CCCS of Maine, October 31, 2003
  • CCCS of Central New Jersey, November 30, 2003
  • CCCS of South Jersey, March 1, 2004
  • CCCS of Mid-Oregon, August 10, 2004
  • CCCS of Southern New England, January 31, 2005
  • CCCS of Fort Worth, June 30, 2005
  • CCCS of Washington, D.C., June 30, 2005
  • CCCS of Spokane, June 30, 2005
  • CCCS of Racine, WI, May 1, 2008
  • CCCS of Linn-Benton, Oregon, June 30, 2008

In 2005, MMI was selected by a federal bankruptcy court to assume control of approximately 50,000 debt management plans previously managed by AmeriDebt.[20]

Market position

According to the federal Government Accountability Office in 2006 MMI was one of the three largest credit counseling providers in the United States. From January to October of that year, MMI and the two other largest agencies - Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta and GreenPath Debt Solutions - delivered more than half of all the certified BAPCPA bankruptcy prefiling credit counseling in the nation.[21]

Education

MMI’s free education workshops are available to schools, where financial responsibility is taught in a classroom environment from kindergarten through college, as well as community organizations, such as churches, businesses and senior centers.[22][23] In 2007, MMI provided more than 480,000 free financial educational programs, helping consumers get out of the red and into the black.[24] In 2007, MMI counselors assisted more than 180,000 people by providing free credit and debt counseling.[25]

MMI also engages the community through education by recruiting and training Certified Money Management Volunteers (CMMV) from local businesses and community service organizations to teach the importance of financial responsibility.[26] With the help of certified volunteers, MMI increases the number of classes offered and the number of people that receive financial and credit education through its programs.[27]

Housing Counseling

MMI is a HUD-approved housing counseling and education service provider. Its counselors educate consumers about buying, financing, maintaining, and protecting their largest asset – their home.[28] Counseling sessions and workshops on foreclosure prevention, reverse mortgage counseling, pre/post purchase counseling, home search and selection and first-time home buying are available for free to all consumers.[29]

MMI also partners with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation and eight other nonprofit credit counseling agencies to provide free, 24/7 housing counseling via the HopeLine program (1-888-495-HOPE). The HopeLine helps people avoid foreclosure through education, counseling and free resources.[30] In 2008 alone, MMI recommended approximately 40,000 proposals for loan modifications in lieu of foreclosure filings.[31]

With a $16 million grant from NeighborWorks America - the largest grant amount awarded to a housing counseling agency working to support the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 - MMI offers free counseling to families at risk of losing their homes through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. This program is designed to help consumers understand the complex foreclosure process, review their options and identify a possible course of action, and make informed decisions.[32] and [31]

MMI’s Preserving Homeownership and Savings Education Strategy (PHASES) program is made possible through grant funds totaling $2 million from HSBC-North America ($1 million given in 2007 and a second $1 million grant given in 2009). This program is available to homeowners in select states and provides qualified applicants with grants to pay past due mortgage payments and other outstanding debts. The program also provides one-on-one financial counseling sessions to help ensure future financial success to keep families in their homes. In 2008, MMI awarded grants of more than $950,000 and helped over 1,700 families remain in their homes.[33] and [31]

Market Position

MMI is a leading provider of credit and debt counseling and education resources in the country and has picked up various awards for its educational programs and tools, including:

  • Regiftable.com won and Ad-Tech Limelight award in 2007, and LACP award in 2007 [34] and an Interactive Media award in 2007 [35]
  • In 2008, FinancialLiteracyMonth.com was recognized by the Web Marketing Association’s Web Award Financial Services Standard of Excellence and Non-Profit Standard of Excellence.[36]
  • In 2008, MMI won NeighborWorks America’s Innovations in Homeownership Contest for its innovative post-purchase strategy for consumers. MMI was recognized for its unique and effective Preserving Homeownership and Savings Education Strategy (PHASES) program.[37]
  • In 2009, FinancialLiteracyMonth.com won a Summit Creative award [38]

As further evidence of its best practices approach to financial education and credit counseling, in 2005, MMI was selected by a federal bankruptcy court to assume control of approximately 50,000 debt management plans previously managed by AmeriDebt.[39]

MMI has continued to experience an increase in inquiries, counseling sessions and active clients in recent years. In early 2000, MMI had approximately 15,000 active Debt Management Plan clients. As a result of agency mergers and increased community outreach initiatives, MMI’s portfolio today stands at over 91,000 active Debt Management Plans.[40]

Industry Accreditations

As a member of all three of the credit counseling industry’s trade associations, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA), the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), and the American Association of Debt Management Organizations (AADMO), MMI has a history in the credit counseling industry. Its executives have served or are currently serving on committees and/or Boards of Directors within these and other industry-related organizations. MMI’s leadership team’s involvement includes:

  • Senior Vice Presidents Marianne D’Aquila and Terry Blaney are both past Chairs of the NFCC
  • Senior Vice President Terry Blaney currently serves as a trustee on the board of directors for AICCCA [41]
  • CEO Ivan Hand and management team members Joanne Kerstetter, Mel Stiller, and Dick Robinson are former members of the NFCC Board of Trustees
  • MMI management team members David Juengel, Cate Williams, Virginia Garretson, Chuck Stanley, Tony Scataglia and Kandee Jahns have been involved in the Education, Technology, Counseling, Compliance, and Finance committees of the NFCC

Membership in AICCCA is based on strict adherence to a high standard of professional conduct.[42] AND [43] Members of AICCCA, which must be approved by the Association’s Membership Committee, must first go through a rigorous two-step approval process, wherein their operations are closely reviewed. Agencies associated with AICCCA must conduct themselves in a way that is secure and equitable to both consumers and credit management personnel.[44]

NFCC member agencies (often named CCCS) annually help more than two million consumers through 911 community-based offices. All NFCC member agencies provide budget and debt counseling, and administer Debt Management Plans (DMPs) for those overwhelmed by debts that they are unable to repay without the help of the creditors they owe. Most agencies also provide housing counseling services, as well as other money and credit services.[45][46]

AADMO is the largest trade association for the credit counseling and debt management industry.[47] It is an industry education and advocacy organization whose mission it is to promote and ensure the continued operation and viability of credit counseling and debt management organizations. In addition, AADMO is the only trade association to have held state law compliance workshops with the New York State Banking Department and the California Department of Corporations upon enactment of their respective laws governing credit counseling. AADMO is also the only trade association for the industry to publish a formal summary of state laws that has been reviewed by state regulators.[48]

Operations

According to 2006 statements by CEO Ivan Hand at an American Bankruptcy Institute discussion of BAPCPA, 92 percent of the individuals engaging MMI's counseling services related to bankruptcy have already engaged the services of an attorney.[49]

MMI is recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a trusted housing counseling agency.[50][51]

Controversy

KHOU story

On December 1, 2005, the local CBS affiliate in Houston, KHOU-TV, reported that MMI was misleading consumers into paying fees they didn't have to pay. The story characterized MMI as profit-driven, quoting a former MMI spokesperson who called it "one of the most profitable non-profit agencies I know."[52]

The story said MMI clients are asked to pay fees if they choose a Debt Management Plan. These fees are supposed to be voluntary, the story said, in keeping with MMI's tax-exempt, nonprofit status; but clients were given the impression they had no alternative but to pay. The story broadcast a recorded conversation between a debt-strapped client and an MMI counselor who said the fees were required "by law" and could not be waived.

MMI issued a statement calling the recorded conversation "an isolated incident that has been resolved internally."[53] It declined an on-camera interview.

Former MMI spokesperson Bill Litwin, a 12-year veteran of the company, disagreed that the case was isolated. He said debt counselors were under "extreme amounts of pressure" to sell debt-management services. Litwin traced the practice to the MMI-CCCS merger, saying that CCCS used to offer free debt-management service before it joined forces with Money Management. "The attitude of management has shifted from a service organization to a revenue-generating organization," he said.

MMI said in response that KHOU had been "misinformed by an ex-employee."

Revocation of BBB membership

In March, 2006, the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston revoked MMI's membership. The BBB said in its letter of revocation that MMI had failed to meet a basic standard for charitable accountability. It said specifically that some of MMI's solicitations or informational materials were inaccurate, false or misleading.[54]

CA desist and refrain order

In July, 2005, the California Department of Corporations ordered MMI to cease operations in the state, citing several violations. The Desist and Refrain Order said MMI "overcharged for its services to California consumers by collecting amounts from its clients in excess of the statutory limit of thirty-five dollars ($35) per month authorized by the California Legislature..."[14]

In 2007 the Department of Corporations filed a civil complaint seeking restitution and penalties. The complaint was settled out-of-court. In the Settlement Agreement MMI acknowledged no liability but agreed to pay $3 million to the state and to refund fees to California clients.

Major contributors

In its 2007 Annual Report, MMI identifies the following major contributors:[55]

  • American Express
  • American Standard
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Cardholder Management Services
  • Citigroup
  • Colorado Housing Finance Authority
  • Comerica Bank
  • CompuCredit
  • Contra Costa County
  • County of San Diego
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Discover Financial Services
  • EMC Mortgage
  • EverBank Reverse Mortgage, L.L.C.
  • Financial Freedom Senior
  • Funding Corporation
  • First Bankcard
  • GE Capital
  • HSBC
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Maine State Housing Authority
  • Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority
  • Retailers National Bank
  • Rhode Island Housing
  • USAA Federal Savings Bank
  • US Bank
  • Wachovia
  • Washington Mutual
  • Wells Fargo
  • World Alliance Financial
  • World Financial Network
  • National Bank

Projects

MMI launched Regiftable.com, a microsite that encourages readers share their regifting success and horror stories, and learn the proper ways to “regift” in 2006. Regifting, made popular in a Seinfeld episode entitled “The Label Maker,” is the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else.[56] According to MMI, regifting can be a way to save money during the holidays, but more importantly, it’s a fun way to discuss an often-uncomfortable subject: holiday spending.[57] MMI also coined “National Regifting Day” as the Thursday before the Christmas holiday, as that is when the majority of office holiday parties take place.[58] and [59]

April was named National Financial Literacy Month by the passing of Senate Resolution 316 with unanimous consent in April 2004.[60] MMI created FinancialLiteracyMonth.com to support the educational mission of National Financial Literacy Month, with a 30-day, step by step process for improving financial wellness.[60] On the Web site, consumers can download financial assessment materials and educational materials to help get them on firm financial ground.[61]

MMI is an approved bankruptcy counseling agency and has developed several consumer bankruptcy education resources, including Bankruptcy.org and BankruptcyCertificate.com. [62] Both sites offer consumers resources for pre- and post-bankruptcy filing counseling and education.

MMI launched SaveOrSpend.com as a place for consumers to discuss their tax time save or spend strategies, and learn about how to use their federal tax refund check to their best advantage. The microsite offers user-contributed stories about decisions to save or spend their refund checks, as well as a number of valuable resources for those wondering which option is best for them.[63] An MMI survey revealed that astrological signs may even impact the decision to save or spend a tax refund check.[64]

The MMI Financial Education Foundation operates to educate the general public on sound personal financial skills and money management principles by developing, delivering, and supporting programs that teach those skills and principles.[65] The MMI foundation was established on August 31, 2001,[66] and provides grants to qualifying non-profit financial education programs for the development and delivery of financial education programs, tools and materials, distribution of educational materials, offsetting operating costs associated with financial education endeavors, and/or expenses associated with individual education endeavors (i.e. scholarships, grants, etc.). Former president of the MMI Financial Education Foundation, Steve Bucci, contributed to a book entitled, Credit Repair Kit for Dummies, in which he includes many of the principles taught through the Foundation.[67]

The Centers for Financial Education is a nonprofit, educational organization, and a division of MMI.[68] The Centers for Financial Education mission is to educate the public on sound personal financial skills and money management principles by developing, delivering, and supporting programs that teach those skills and principles. The organization has offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Greater Washington D.C., Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[69]

Financial and taxation information

United States IRS forms 990 for Money Management International
Organization Name State Year Total Assets Form Pages EIN
Money Management International Financial Education Foundation - 2002

TX

2002

$1,904,101

990

15

76-0691702

Money Management International Financial Education Foundation - 2003

TX

2003

$2,430,902

990

17

76-0691702

Money Management International Financial Education Foundation - 2004

TX

2004

$2,654,686

990

15

76-0691702

Money Mgmt International Financial Education Foundation - 2005

TX

2005

$2,837,123

990

20

76-0691702

Money Management International Financial Education Foundation - 2006

TX

2006

$3,138,938

990

22

76-0691702

Money Management International Financial Education Foundation - 2007

TX

2007

$3,252,269

990

24

76-0691702

MMI Financial Education Foundation - 2008

TX

2008

$2,900,854

990

36

76-0691702

Money Management By Mail Inc. - 2002

TX

2002

$30,746,150

990

48

54-1837741

Money Management By Mail Inc. - 2003

TX

2003

$35,093,282

990

53

54-1837741

Money Management International Inc. - 2004

TX

2004

$35,622,483

990

43

54-1837741

Money Mgmt International Inc. - 2005

TX

2005

$50,343,875

990

47

54-1837741

Money Management International Inc. - 2006

TX

2006

$56,209,575

990

40

54-1837741

Money Management International Inc. - 2007

TX

2007

$62,330,825

990

41

54-1837741

Money Management International Inc. - 2008

TX

2008

$55,395,435

990

39

54-1837741


References

  1. ^ Records available on the Texas State Comptroller web site for the various organization names associated with MMI list 1997 as the earliest registration with the Texas Secretary of State, for MONEY MANAGEMENT BY MAIL INC. MMI itself, though not registered until 2002, is mentioned as early as November 2000 in this press release (archive) on the http://www.cccsintl.org/ - Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Gulf Coast Area, Inc. web site.
    Data from the Texas State Comptroller web site
    Organization Tax ID SOS Registration Date Comptroller Page
    MONEY MANAGEMENT INTERNATIONAL, INC 15418377410 November 8, 2002 link, archive
    MONEY MANAGEMENT INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL EDUCATION 17606917023 August 14, 2001 link, archive
    MONEY MANAGEMENT BY MAIL INC 32014034402 May 21, 1997 link, archive
  2. ^ Some circa 2004 press releases on the http://www.cccsintl.org/ - Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Gulf Coast Area, Inc. claim that MMI has been providing services "since 1981." example, archive
  3. ^ The MMI web site as of January 2009 and some circa 2006-2007 press releases on the http://www.cccsintl.org/ - Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Gulf Coast Area, Inc. claim that MMI has been providing services "since 1958." example, archive
  4. ^ a b MMI Website - About US
  5. ^ MMI 990 Filing
  6. ^ a b MMI Website - Locations
  7. ^ CFE Website
  8. ^ Credit Counseling Website
  9. ^ CA Dept of Corporations Order - PDF
  10. ^ MMI Website - Programs
  11. ^ a b c MMI Website - About Us
  12. ^ Ways and Means Cmte Statement
  13. ^ CCCS of Central New Jersey
  14. ^ a b CA Dept of Corporations
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ [4]
  19. ^ [5]
  20. ^ [6]
  21. ^ Jones, Yvonne D. (2007). Bankruptcy Reform: Value of Credit Counseling Requirement Is Not Clear (GAO-07-203). Washington, D.C.: Government Accountability Office. p. 14. OCLC 156274430. http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-07-203  LCCN 2007-414394
  22. ^ [7]
  23. ^ [8]
  24. ^ [9]
  25. ^ http://www.appsense.com/Files/Documents/Money%20Management%20International%20(US).pdf
  26. ^ [10]
  27. ^ http://www.crediteducation.org/page.php?pagename=cmmv_faq
  28. ^ http://www.hud.gov/local/index.cfm
  29. ^ http://www.moneymanagement.org/Programs/HousingAdvising.asp
  30. ^ http://www.995hope.org/who-we-are/partners/
  31. ^ a b c "MMI Strengthens Fight Against Foreclosure in 2009". Reuters. January 22, 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS187293+22-Jan-2009+BW20090122. 
  32. ^ http://www.nw.org/network/nfmcp/documents/NFMCROUND2COUNSELINGAWARDSBYSTATE.pdf
  33. ^ http://www.hsbcusa.com/ourcompany/pressroom/2007/news_20072007_home_preservation.html
  34. ^ http://www.lacp.com/2007spotlight/C27.HTM
  35. ^ http://www.interactivemediaawards.com/winners/certificate.asp?param=45476&cat=1
  36. ^ http://www.webaward.org/winner.asp?eid=10318
  37. ^ http://nw5.org/contest/
  38. ^ http://www.newswiretoday.com/news/50917/
  39. ^ http://www.arentfox.com/newsroom/index.cfm?fa=pressReleaseDisp&content_id=690
  40. ^ http://www.moneymanagement.org/PressRoom/MediaKit/2007AnnualReport.pdf
  41. ^ http://www.aiccca.org/about.cfm
  42. ^ http://www.aiccca.org/images/AICCCA%20Code%20of%20Practice.pdf
  43. ^ http://www.aiccca.org/images/Standards%20of%20Compliance.pdf
  44. ^ http://www.aiccca.org/join.cfm
  45. ^ http://www.cgmahq.org/manual/download/forms/cgma_22.pdf
  46. ^ http://www.inchargeinstitute.org/media/reports/RRP025.pdf
  47. ^ http://www.aadmo.org/
  48. ^ http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/debtsettlementworkshop/536796-00018.pdf
  49. ^ Oversight of the implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act : hearing before the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, second session, December 6, 2006. Washington, D.C.: G. P. O.. 2006. p. 68. ISBN 9780160786556. OCLC 131477164. http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS82140  LCCN 2007-395802
  50. ^ Elder, Laura (September 6, 1998). "Dialing for debtors: Extended credit has MMI expanding locally". http://assets.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/1998/09/07/story5.html. 
  51. ^ [11]
  52. ^ KHOU-TV story
  53. ^ MMI Statement
  54. ^ BBB Letter
  55. ^ MMI Annual Report
  56. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regifting
  57. ^ http://www.azfamily.com/news/consumer/stories/phoenix-economy-news-110508-regifting.18313bf59.html
  58. ^ http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/saving/2008/11/18/the-dos-and-donts-of-regifting.aspx
  59. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_regifting_day
  60. ^ a b http://financialplan.about.com/b/2009/04/04/april-is-financial-literacy-month-2.htm
  61. ^ http://genxfinance.com/2009/03/30/april-is-national-financial-literacy-month/
  62. ^ http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/mps/manual/eoust.htm
  63. ^ "Seven Things To Do With Your Tax Refund". Forbes. March 18, 2005. http://www.forbes.com/2005/03/18/cx_sr_0318refund.html. 
  64. ^ http://www.astrostar.com/TaxReturns.htm
  65. ^ . http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20090415-903888.html. [dead link]
  66. ^ http://www.mmifoundation.org/8312001.asp
  67. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=nWVGRBq8vcwC&pg=PR1&lpg=PR1&dq=%22MMI+Financial+Education+Foundation%22&source=bl&ots=rF-iXMeYHz&sig=ASpkK_pqoW6CgbHcHVRC3dbhsnU&hl=en&ei=2pVCStX3HOOptgf81tSTCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4
  68. ^ http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Org/161065-248
  69. ^ http://www.moneywise.tv/military/resources.html
 

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