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Debt Problems? Work With Your Creditors First.

If you’re currently struggling to manage your monthly debt payments, you’re not alone. Financial challenges have continued to plague U.S. households since the financial crisis of 2008. Here are just a few sobering statistics that define the situations facing many of us:

  • An estimated 1.7 million people will file for bankruptcy protection this year.
  • Both in and out of bankruptcy, about 56 million adults will be set back by health care-related bills this year.
  • American student loan debt totals almost $1 trillion and affects more than 38 million Americans.
  • According to, 45 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
  • While unemployment has come down to about 7%, it was a staggering 10% between 2009 and 2010. And underemployment numbers are estimated to be in the neighborhood of 14.3% currently.

Given that landscape, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you simply can’t make even your minimum payments, there are solutions available to help you avoid things like debt collection or bankruptcy. While credit counseling and debt settlement services are viable options for settling with your creditors, a best first step can be to try and work toward a resolution with each of your creditors on your own.


Survey your situation

Start by doing some homework. Get a copy of your credit report, which should list all of your outstanding debt. Make a list of your creditors and the amount you owe them. Then estimate how much you can afford to pay each one, either on a monthly basis or in a lump sum. Spend time making sure you are comfortable with those amounts and be realistic about what your budget can support on a monthly basis before you reach out to negotiate with your creditors.


Work out a payment plan

Once you have put together a full picture of your current debt and budget, call each creditor and explain your situation. Let them know you want to pay down your debt, but ask if there is an option to work out a modified payment plan that would reduce your payments. You may have to pay longer, but your monthly payments could be less, providing you with a more manageable payment situation. Some creditors may also be willing to accept a lump sum payment of less than the amount you owe.

This strategy works best if you try to work it out before your account is turned over to a collection agency, because it shows your intention to pay, despite your circumstances. If your account is past due for long enough that the creditor has sent it to a collection agency, you may lose any opportunity you have to negotiate directly with the creditor. However, dealing with credit payment challenges and creditors as early as possible will help you to mitigate the impact on your credit score and history.


Options for your Merrick Bank account

Like other creditors, Merrick Bank offers a variety of debt settlement options to help customers when they get behind with their payments on their Merrick Bank account.

Depending on your situation, we offer programs that provide fixed payments, lower interest rates, and account restructuring — all designed to help our customers protect and preserve their credit. To learn more about settlement solutions that might be available to you, call us toll-free at 1-800-253-2322, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.


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