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LSS Financial Counseling









 

Help Members & Improve Your Bottom Line
with LSS Financial Counseling

Minnesota credit unions can now offer members facing financial difficulties immediate access to trusted, high-quality financial counseling through MnCUN's partnership with LSS Financial Counseling. Through LSS Financial Counseling's Financial Choice, credit unions can offer their members immediate help through phone credit and housing counselors and priority scheduling through in-person appointment at eight locations throughout the state.

LSS financial counselors are certified in both credit and housing counseling and specialize in helping individuals avoid bankruptcy, foreclosure and debt settlement scams. Through LSS Financial Counseling, credit unions can offer members education on how to develop positive money management skills, guidance on reading a credit report, budget and debt counseling, debt management plans, and foreclosure prevention counseling. The customized financial wellness plans meet the unique needs of each credit union's field of membership and distinguish the credit union as a trusted financial partner.


Enhanced level of service

Many credit unions refer members to LSS Financial Counseling for help, but Financial Choice provides enhanced level of service to members and the credit union, including:

  • Stronger Loss Prevention: Add Financial Choice to your collections toolkit so LSS can help members address their total financial picture. LSS has expert foreclosure prevention and student loan teams, and partner credit unions have also built LSS into their loan modification process, for stronger loan mods, that stick.
  • Priority Access to Services: Financial Choice members have immediate access to "counselor-on-call” and are guaranteed a full appointment within three business days regardless of general public demand
  • Service that Focuses on Positioning Members for Financial Wellness: Each member is offered follow-up sessions (up to six per year), targeted at improving money management skills, credit scores, or capacity to increase savings.
  • Seamless Access to Certified Housing Counselors: Replace the current fragmented system with full access to expert foreclosure prevention, homebuyer readiness, and reverse mortgage counseling.
  • Partner Relations Specialist: LSS will provide a partner relations key contact to maximize the value of the partnership through employee trainings, providing blog and newsletter content and success stories, and helping to boost visibility and brand through community events.
  • Financial Education Workshops: LSS can deliver financial education wherever you want it – for employees, members, community SEGs and high schools – with over 20 personal finance topics..

The services offered by LSS Financial Counseling help to ensure that members choose reputable help, which minimizes write-off and bankruptcy losses and fosters member loyalty. By offering financial information and resources, credit unions distinguish themselves as financial institutions dedicated to helping members meet and surpass their financial goals.


About LSS Financial Counseling

Founded in 1987, LSS Financial Counseling serves consumers through eight locations across Minnesota, as well as through nationwide phone and online counseling. They are a member of the National Foundation of Credit Counseling, along with being a HUD-approved housing counseling provider. LSS Financial Counseling maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

 

Sign up today

To learn more about LSS Financial Counseling and to sign onto Financial Choice contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or at (651) 288-5505.

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LSS Financial Counseling News

 

November 2013


MnCUN partnership with LSS Financial Counseling has CUs flocking to Financial Choice

Driven by their mission of people serving people, credit unions naturally desire to help improve the financial health of their members. Financial stresses impact not only members’ financial futures, but also their physical health.    

According to a 2013 study conducted by the University of Michigan, nearly two-thirds of consumers who are physically ill but do not seek medical care are fearful of the cost and are unwilling to add large debt to their credit cards. Minnesota credit unions can be a solution to this dilemma, thanks to partnerships around the state with Lutheran Social Service (LSS) financial counseling.    

"Credit unions are flocking to provide counseling services to their members because they understand the needs of today’s consumers,” said Mark D. Cummins, President & CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN). "Through counseling and personal finance education, credit unions are committed to improving the lives of their members.”    

This fundamental desire to help members create a more secure financial future spurred MnCUN to form a statewide partnership with LSS in 2012 to broadly offer LSS’s counseling services to credit unions and credit union members across Minnesota.    

"LSS loves to partner with credit unions because they are the ones who experience these issues first-hand and care personally about their members’ financial wellness,” said Darryl Dahlheimer, LSS Program Director.    

LSS offers the Financial Choice program, which provides credit union members expert coaching on safe solutions for each type of debt, along with a structured debt management plan to help quickly pay down debt. Financial Choice provides credit union members with priority access to certified financial and housing counselors, and it offers financial wellness coaching to help consumers in the areas of credit card debt, student loan debt and foreclosure prevention.    

Financial counseling is offered by phone and in-person at eight locations around the state. LSS’s customized financial wellness plans meet the unique needs of each credit union's field of membership and distinguish the credit union as a trusted financial partner.    

Currently, LSS is providing Financial Choice counseling services through 15 credit unions around the state:

               Anoka Hennepin Credit Union, Coon Rapids

               City & County Credit Union, St. Paul

               Cook Area Credit Union, Cook

               Embarrass Vermillion Federal Credit Union, Aurora

               Hermantown Federal Credit Union, Hermantown

               Hiway Federal Credit Union, St. Paul

               Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, Baxter

               Northern Communities Credit Union, Duluth

               NSP St Paul Credit Union, St. Paul

               Richfield Bloomington Credit Union, Richfield

               SouthPoint Federal Credit Union, Sleepy Eye

               TopLine Federal Credit Union, Maple Grove

               TruStar Federal Credit Union, International Falls

               United Educators CU Credit Union, Apple Valley

               US Federal Credit Union, Burnsville

 

The services offered by LSS Financial Counseling help to ensure that members choose reputable assistance, which minimizes write-off and bankruptcy losses and fosters member loyalty. By offering financial information and resources, credit unions distinguish themselves as financial institutions dedicated to helping members meet and surpass their financial goals.

For more information about LSS Financial Counseling, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or call (651) 288-5505.     

 

March 2013

LSS presents a fresh approach to money management

The habits that build long-term financial well-being are often ones that require discipline or short-term sacrifice. Most people will admit that they wish they could save more, but they end up spending as much as they make. Enter the new field of behavioral finance, and how budget and debt counselors help create better savers.

The newest trend in financial counseling is to unify saving and spending. Instead of being seen as a sacrifice, saving is being made attractive. Saving is not about "not spending.” It is deferred spending. Smarter spending. Instead of a fight with willpower, new habits are cultivated toward making goals visible and exciting.

Credit unions have a mission for financial wellness, and members can become stronger savers with the right help. MnCUN's partnership with LSS Financial Counseling Service offers the Financial Choice product to credit unions. Financial Choice provides credit union members with up to six sessions per year with a LSS financial counselor who will help them craft an action plan toward their goals. The hands-on coaching and support leave members feeling more confident. The increased savings rate leaves the credit union's bottom line better, too.

To discover how your credit union can benefit from LSS financial wellness products and services, contact MnCUN Vice President-Network Service Corporation John Ferstlby email or (651) 288-5505.

 

January 2013

LSS provides resources for credit unions to help members manage medical bills

Many households are feeling the pinch of rising medical bills. Medical debt is becoming a common financial stressor, and large medical debts are now cited as the top "tipping point” in filing personal bankruptcy. It's not just uninsured households that struggle; rising co-pays and deductibles affect the insured, too. To assist credit unions in helping members manage medical debt that could otherwise destabilize a member's overall finances, MnCUN has partnered with LSS Financial Counseling Service to offer Financial Choice to credit unions.

This service provides budget and debt counseling in-person at eight Minnesota locations, and through nationwide phone and internet counseling, so members receive the help they need to work through the maze of insurance claims, co-pays and competing debts. The debt management plan at LSS creates payment in full to all creditors – with good credit score outcomes – by giving members encouragement and practical tools to make debt repayment achievable.

To discover how your credit union can benefit from LSS financial wellness products and services, contact MnCUN Vice President—Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or (651) 288-5505.

 

October 2012

Credit scores matter: Helping members navigate the "new normal”

Recently the media has stressed the importance of credit scores, but the average person is still lost in the land of credit. Many people cannot describe specific ways to improve their score or what are the key factors that FICO uses to score them. Almost two-thirds of adults have not obtained their credit reports in the past year – despite the fact that it's free to do so. To assist credit unions in teaching the importance of credit scores to members, MnCUN has partnered with LSS Financial Counseling Service to offer Financial Choice to credit unions.

Financial Choice provides one-to-one credit report review that teaches members how to decipher their credit reports and develop an individualized action plan to raise their credit score. The hands-on coaching and support leave members feeling more confident. LSS provides this help within a financial wellness umbrella that includes financial education workshops, money management, and in-person debt and housing counseling at eight Minnesota locations (and by phone and internet counseling nationwide).

To discover how your credit union can benefit from LSS financial wellness products and services, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or (651) 288-5505.

August 2012
   

LSS Financial Counseling offers a fresh approach to money management

Our brains are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Unfortunately, the habits that build long-term financial well-being are often ones that require discipline or short-term sacrifice. Most people will admit that they wish they could save more, but they end up spending as much as they make. To help people master the skills of money management, LSS Financial Counseling has budget and debt counselors available to credit union members. This enhanced level of service is exclusively available to Minnesota credit unions through LSS Financial Counseling's partnership with MnCUN.

The newest trend in financial counseling is to unify saving and spending. Instead of being seen as a sacrifice, saving is made attractive. Saving is not about "not spending” – it is deferred spending. Instead of a fight with willpower, new habits are cultivated toward making goals visible and exciting.

Credit unions have a mission for financial wellness, and members can become stronger savers with the right help. Through a deluxe partnership with LSS Financial Counseling, Minnesota credit unions can access Financial Choice. Financial Choice provides members with up to six sessions per year with a LSS financial counselor who will help them craft an action plan toward their goals, which often involves making saving automatic, developing a more workable budget, and receiving encouragement and follow-up to get there. The hands-on coaching and support leave members feeling more confident. The increased savings rate also strengthens the credit union's bottom line.

To discover how your credit union can benefit from LSS Financial Counseling financial products and services, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or (651) 288-5505.

 

July 2012

LSS Financial Counseling helps members avoid financial regrets

For many members, the task of managing their personal finances can be daunting. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that more than 40 percent of U.S. adults give themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance and that fewer than half of adult Americans use a budget.

Through LSS Financial Counseling Financial Choice, credit unions can offer their members expert budgeting and credit help. This enhanced service level includes immediate access to a counselor-on-call, priority scheduling and a focus on financial wellness. Members benefit from specific coaching on how to improve their credit score, avoid debt scams and regain control of their spending. In addition, credit unions benefit from decreased losses and vetted, trusted options for debt repayment and increased savings.

To discover how your credit union can benefit from LSS Financial Counseling financial wellness products and services, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstlby email or (651) 288-5505.

*The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Financial Literacy survey is conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the NFCC each March among 1,000 adults ages 18+. Results are weighted for age, sex, geographic region, and race where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. The full survey is available at www.nfcc.org.


June 2012

LSS Financial Counseling helps members navigate the complexity of student loans

In 2011, total student loan debt surpassed total credit card debt for the first time. In fact, two-thirds of college seniors are graduating with an average student loan debt of more than $25,000. With Lutheran Social Services (LSS), credit unions can ensure that they have the tools and expertise to help members understand and payoff their student loans.

LSS Financial Counseling Service can offer expert coaching on all debts, including student loans. The first step is "know what you owe.” Financial counselors can help access both the federal portal and credit reports to see the big picture. It is especially important for families to understand the dangers of default, the special rules for private student loans, and which options for repayment are the best fit for their situation. The second step is "make a plan.”

One popular new option is IBR, or income-based repayment plan, which adjusts payments yearly based on income and family size. There are also options to bring loans out of default and even (more rarely) paths toward discharge or cancellation of student loan debt. The key is budget and debt counseling to make repayment plans realistic and in context.

To discover how your credit union can benefit from LSS Financial Counseling financial wellness products and services, contact MnCUN Vice President Network Service Corporation John Ferstlby email or (651) 288-5505.