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What are the duties of a debt commissioner?

The Texas legislature has established rules and regulations regarding debt counseling and education in the Texas Finance Code. Chapter 394 is dedicated to debtor assistance and Section 394.001 sets forth the duties of the consumer credit commissioner, also sometimes referred to as the debt commissioner.

Generally, the debt commissioner must oversee the administration of debt counseling programs in Texas. He or she provides assistance and advice to two primary ends. First, the commissioner must encourage individuals and organizations to establish and operate nonprofit, voluntary debt-counseling services. Second, he or she must coordinate and aid agencies in the operation and development of consumer education programs designed to promote beneficial and responsible utilization of consumer credit.

More specifically, the debt commissioner oversees the registration and requirements of debt management service providers. The office of the commissioner may develop registration forms and is in charge of reviewing, approving or denying applications submitted by potential service providers. The commissioner is also responsible for the maintenance of public records of Texas debt management service providers and for ensuring that providers are properly bonded in compliance with the law.

The commissioner has the power to conduct investigations and levy penalties to enforce the rules governing debt management service providers. The commissioner may act on complaints against providers by, for example, ordering the correction of a violation or imposing a penalty of up to $1,000.

The precise role that the debt commissioner plays depends on the facts of the case. This post is to provide a general overview of the commissioner's duties and should not be read as legal advice. An attorney with experience in debt settlement, bankruptcy or other debt relief matters may be able to answer specific questions for interested parties or provide advice regarding the elimination of consumer debt.

Source: Texas statutes and constitution, "Sec. 394.001. DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.", October 24, 2014

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