Money Management International (MMI) has decided to move its headquarters to Sugar Land, Texas. MMI is the largest non-profit, consumer credit counseling companies in the United States. This is a legitimate company, not like the so-called "debt settlement" companies that you see on late-night TV or on the internet.

MMI provides financial guidance and counseling, and if you qualify can put you on a debt management plan (DMP) to repay your debts over time. DMP's don't generally reduce your debt; they are "consolidation" plans, where you make one payment a month to MMI, and MMI pays your creditors for you.

For the people that can afford these DMP plans, they are fine. It can help you avoid bankruptcy. Many of my clients have consulted with credit counselors before they come see me, and legitimate ones like MMI will just tell them whether or not they can help them, or if they should consult an attorney about their debt problems, and possibly consider filing bankruptcy. Most if not all of the "shady" debt settlement companies, are not even legally operating in Texas.

To operate legally, they have to be registered with the Texas Consumer Credit Commissioner, and comply with the Texas Debtor Assistance Law, which almost none of them do. I just had a couple come in to the office this morning, that had paid a debt settlement company $9000 in fees, and the company had only settled one debt for them.

Then they were sued for $19,000 by a creditor, and the debt settlement company told them they needed to file bankruptcy. So the debt settlement company basically did them no good at all. We will likely put them into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, paying $450 per month for 5 years. That will repay 30% of their $75,000 in unsecured debt, with the rest being discharged or cancelled.

And no one can sue them or call them at work trying to collect, once they file Chapter 13. If you are interested in consulting with me about your options, including filing a bankruptcy case, and you live in the Houston Texas area or surrounding counties, give my office a call at 713-772-8037 and make an appointment to meet with me. There is no charge for your first visit. Anyway, welcome to Sugar Land, MMI. I'm sure you will be a good neighbor!

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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