Michigan Debt Relief: What You Need to Know + Best Debt Consolidation Companies

Michigan has one of the smallest debt burdens per resident in the country. However, many residents still struggle with consumer debts, including medical bills, credit cards, student loans, and personal loans. Fortunately, the Great Lakes State offers debt relief solutions, such as debt consolidation, to help people get out of debt sooner. The state also has a number of state and federal programs and grants available to those dealing with a financial crisis.

Michigan Ranks 42nd for Consumer Debt

Michigan ranks 42nd for consumer debt across all 50 states at an average debt burden of $72,735 per resident. This is less than what the average American owes, which is $90,460, according to the CNBC.

Other Michigan Debt Statistics

Here are some recent statistics about Michigan residents’ debt burden and credit health:

  • Average credit card debt per household: $5,399
  • Average credit utilization ratio: 24%
  • Total outstanding student loan debt: $51.4 billion
  • Average student loan debt per borrower: $36,116
  • Percentage of delinquent auto loan accounts: 4.69%
  • Percentage of delinquent credit card accounts: 6.36%
  • Average FICO credit score in Michigan: 719 (5-point increase from 2020)
  • Consumer debt increase from 2020 to 2021: 3.4%

The Best Debt Consolidation Companies in Michigan

Looking for Michigan debt relief? Here are some of the top debt consolidation companies in the state.

Thav Gross, P.C. – Flint

Thav Gross Attorneys & Counselors at Law works with individuals and small businesses on things like finances, bankruptcy support, and planning. It also provides financial crisis management help to individual consumers. Other specialties include mortgage modification, debt resolution, estate planning, debt relief, workers’ compensation, and general law. The process starts with a free initial consultation.

Thav Gross, P.C.

  • 30150 Telegraph Rd Ste 444 Bingham, Farms, MI, 48025-4549
  • (248) 645-1700
  • lawandreality.com
  • Rating: 8.39/10

Simpson Mortgage Company

Established in 1989, Simpson Mortgage Company has been helping consumers manage their debt through debt consolidation and home loans. It also acts as a mortgage broker.

  • 29196 Hoover Warren, MI, 48093
  • (800) 628-0102
  • Rating: 8.49/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness (Various Locations)

GreenPath Financial Wellness is a national nonprofit with over 60 years of experience. It offers debt management plans and financial counseling services. It also assists with foreclosure support, reverse mortgage counseling, and homebuying assistance. On the main website, GreenPath also has several resources and tools relating to debt management, loans, and online courses. The company has 71 locations in total.

  • 5397 W Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti, MI, 48197-4900
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 8.6/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Sterling Heights (Temporarily Closed)

  • 43120 Utica Rd Ste 300 Sterling Heights, MI, 48314-3579
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 8.7/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Southfield

  • 24333 Lahser Rd #6041 Southfield, MI, 48033-6041
  • (800) 550-1961
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 8.81/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Novi (Permanently Closed)

  • 27780 Novi Rd Ste 105 Novi, MI, 48377-3427
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 8.91/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Monroe

  • 102 E Front St. Monroe, MI, 48161-2162
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.02/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Jackson

  • 2055 Spring Arbor Rd. Jackson, MI, 49203-2705
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.13/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Flint

  • 2425 S Linden Rd Ste D Ste 134 Flint, MI, 48532-5474
  • (810) 230-1077
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.24/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Flat Rock

  • 26121 Vreeland Rd. Flat Rock, MI, 48134-1690
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.35/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Farmington Hills (Corporate Office)

  • 36500 Corporate Dr. Farmington Hills, MI, 48331-3553
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.47/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Detroit

  • 2111 Woodward Ave Ste 906 Detroit, MI, 48201-3421
  • (313) 961-1018
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.58/10

GreenPath Financial Wellness – Canton (Permanently Closed)

  • 44978 Ford Rd Ste C Canton, MI, 48187-2903
  • (888) 776-6735
  • www.greenpath.com
  • Rating: 9.7/10

How Can I Get Help Paying My Bills in Michigan

Michigan has many programs at the local, state, and federal levels that can help in a financial crisis. The state also has grant and cash assistance programs. These include:

  • Legal aid
  • Utility and rent/mortgage assistance
  • Help dealing with debt collectors
  • Affordable health insurance
  • Childcare support
  • Homeownership assistance
  • Food and nutrition support

If you’re looking for help with bills or need additional resources, here are some of the main organizations to contact:

  • Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP): MEAP has a singular mission to ensure the public has safe and reliable energy and telecommunications services that are accessible and affordable. It has the authority to create and implement programs across the state for this purpose. MEAP also helps people manage and pay their energy bills, as well as lower energy costs. It can also help people budget for these expenses, something that may include enrolling in an affordable payment plan.
  • Elder Prescription Insurance Program (EPIC): This program provides prescription assistance to eligible Michigan seniors. Phone: (866) 747-5844
  • MiChild: Low-income working families can obtain healthcare coverage for their uninsured dependent children through MIChild. It comes with a small monthly premium that’s lower than most private plans. Phone: (517) 373-3740
  • Cash Assistance and Social Services: Low-income families with dependent children and pregnant women may receive short-term cash assistance to help pay for essential bills. Adults with a full or partial disability and certain caretakers may also receive some cash assistance. Other programs can help with energy bills, child care costs, food, and medical bills.
  • Legal Assistance: Various nonprofit law firms throughout the state offer free or low-cost legal aid and consultations to low-income residents, seniors, and those with disabilities.
  • Home Ownership Services: Available throughout the state, these services can help people find housing and make their rent or mortgage payments.
  • Help for seniors: Michigan’s Office of Services to the Aging coordinates various programs and services meant to aid senior residents. These include counseling, respite care, support groups, community counseling, legal assistance health screening, and crisis energy assistance.
  • Other assistance programs: The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services also offers other programs and resources. These include public health emergency assistance, child welfare and support, behavioral health resources, emergency preparedness help, and more.

Michigan also has numerous food banks and centers, which help support those facing hunger or poor nutrition. Some of the bigger ones include:

Food Gatherers

  • 1 Carrot Way
  • P.O. Box 131037 Ann Arbor, MI 48105
  • (734) 761-2796

Greater Lansing Food Bank

  • 5600 Food Ct Bath, MI 48906
  • (517) 853-7800

South Michigan Food Bank

  • 5451 Wayne Road Battle Creek, MI 49037
  • (269) 964-3663

Feeding America West Michigan

  • 864 West River Center Drive NE Comstock Park, MI 49321
  • (616) 784-3250

Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan

  • 2131 Beaufait Street Detroit, MI 48207
  • (313) 923-3535

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan

  • 2300 Lapeer Road Flint, MI 48503
  • (810) 239-4441

Forgotten Harvest

  • 15000 W. Eight Mile Rd. Oak Park, MI 48237
  • (248) 967-1500

Consumer Information

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is responsible for regulating the state’s payday lenders. The Department’s mission is to ensure consumers get access to safe, reliable insurance and financial services. It also advocates for sustainable economic growth in both industries.

Along with this, the Department has two offices that are dedicated to consumer affairs:

  • Office of Consumer Finance: This entity is in charge of licensing financial and insurance companies. It also enforces laws that affect financial service businesses and lenders. This includes payday lenders.
  • Office of Consumer Services: The Office manages and resolves consumer complaints related to financial or insurance companies and processes. It also helps with other elements of consumer finance and insurance fraud.

Where to Make a Complaint

The best place to file a complaint about proven or suspected illegal activity in the state is with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. It regularly deals with complaints related to credit unions, insurance companies, payday lenders, banks, and financial products (ex. loans).

Here’s the main contact information:

  • Regulator: Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services
  • Address: 530 W. Allegan Street, 7th Floor, Lansing, Michigan, 48933
  • Phone: (517) 284-8819
  • Fax: (517) 284-8837
  • Main website: www.michigan.gov/difs/consumers/complaint

Consumers can also file a complaint with the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB). This government agency is committed to ensuring people are treated fairly by lenders, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

Debt Collection in Michigan

Residents of Michigan are protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which limits third-party debt collection practices. Among other things, the FDCPA regulates when and how these agencies can contact a debtor (person who owes the debt). If a third-party debt collector is found in violation of the FDCPA, the debtor can take them to court.

State Protections

The state also has the Michigan Collection Practices Act, which extends the laws of the FDCPA directly to the state’s lenders and creditors. This means Michigan’s lending institutions, creditors, and attorneys must all follow the same rules as third-party collection agencies.

In particular, these organizations/agencies can’t:

  • Contact debtors before 8 am or after 9 pm without prior consent
  • Contact other people in the debtor’s life, such as their employer, unless given permission
  • Use threats of violence, obscene language, manipulation tactics, deception, etc. to try to collect on a debt
  • Claim they will sue the debtor when they have no intention of doing so
  • Withhold key information about themselves or the debt at hand
  • Try to collect more than the balance owed (ex. interest or fees)
  • Etc.

If you’re having problems or want to report violations of the state or federal debt collection laws, you can do so here:

  • Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office
  • Consumer Protection Division
  • PO Box 30213
  • Lansing, MI 48909
  • (877) 765-8388

Alternatively, file an online complaint here: www.michigan.gov/ag/complaints

What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Michigan?

The statute of limitations on debt is the period when a debt collector can initiate a lawsuit to collect on your outstanding debts. Once the statute on a specific debt expires, the debt collector can no longer sue you for the money. You are still responsible for paying what you owe, however.

In Michigan, the statute of limitations is 6 years for all types of debt. This period starts from the date of your last payment.

Filing for Bankruptcy in Michigan

For Michigan residents who need debt relief and can’t find it elsewhere, bankruptcy may offer a fresh start. Keep in mind that filing is likely to ruin your credit. It will also stay on your report for up to 7 to 10 years, depending on which type of bankruptcy you file.

Here are the two most common types of personal bankruptcy:

  • Chapter 7: The most common option for individuals, Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires you to liquidate (sell) off most of your assets/property. The proceeds are then used to pay as many of your existing debts as possible. Once everything has been settled, any remaining eligible debts are discharged.
  • Chapter 13: Also called a wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 lets you keep your assets/property. Instead, you must set up a court-approved repayment plan to repay all or part of your debts. This plan usually takes 3 to 5 years to complete and is generally recommended for those with a stable income.

There are pros and cons to both types of bankruptcy, as well as reasons why you might benefit from one over the other. However, you may not get to choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. To qualify for Chapter 7, for example, you’ll need to pass a means test, which determines your ability to pay your creditors.

Before filing for bankruptcy, consult an attorney to see if it’s the best option for you. Also, Michigan residents benefit from certain bankruptcy exemptions, including:

  • Michigan Homestead Exemption: $40,475 or $60,725 if you’re over 65 or have a qualifying disability
  • Michigan Motor Vehicle Exemption: $3,725
  • Michigan Pension and Retirement Account Exemptions: Most pension and retirement accounts are protected

For a complete list of Michigan bankruptcy exemptions, check with the Michigan Legislature.

Payday Lending Laws in Michigan: Legal

Payday lending is legal in Michigan. Lenders are subject to the following limitations:

  • Maximum loan amount: $600
  • Interest Rate (APR): 407% APR on a 14-day loan for $100
  • Maximum loan term: 31 days
  • Number of rollovers allowed: N/A
  • Maximum number of outstanding loans allowed: Two
  • Cooling off period (between loans): None
  • Installment: No
  • Finance charges: 11% to 15% per $100 in principal balance plus a database verification fee
  • Collection fees: $25 non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee (adjusted for inflation)
  • Criminal action: Prohibited

How to File for Unemployment in Michigan

If you need to apply for unemployment insurance benefits, you can do so online using the Michigan Web Account Manager. Alternatively, you can apply for benefits by phone: (866) 500-0017

You’ll need some information, such as:

  • Full name and date of birth
  • Current address, phone number, and email
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information (ex. employer name, address, work dates, gross earnings, etc.) for the past 18 months
  • Government ID

Get specific details on how to apply here.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, if you’re seeking debt relief or need help paying bills in Michigan, you have options. This includes debt consolidation, credit counseling, and various local, state, and federal programs and grants.

If you’re being harassed by debt collectors or are dealing with suspected fraudulent or illegal activity, know your rights. There are several agencies that can help, such as the CFPB or Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office. Don’t hesitate to contact one or more of these agencies if needed.

Michigan Debt Statistics

Total Debt$33,245,109,000
Debt Per Capita$3,352
Debt Per Capita Rank29

Source: World Population Review

Michigan Credit Card Debt Statistics

Average Credit Card Balance$5,339
Average Credit Score719
Avg Credit Card Balance Rank (1 = Highest Balance)39
Avg Credit Score Rank (1=Highest Score)28

Source: Experian

Mortgage Debt in Michigan

Mortgage Debt Per Capita$23,870
Avg 30 yr Mortgage Rate5.78%
Avg 15 yr Mortgage Rate4.9%
Median Home Value$169,600
Avg Outstanding Mortgage Debt$150,482
Difference Between Value and Mortgage Debt$19,118
Avg Homeowner FICO Score718

Source: Federal Reserve, Value Penguin, Experian

Payday Loan Debt in Michigan

Payday Loan Legal StatusLegal
Max Payday Loan Amount600
Max Payday Loan Term31 days
Max Payday Loan APR407%

Source: Michigan Government Website

Unemployment and the Economy of Michigan

Poverty Rate – Population13%
Poverty Rate – Population – Rank34
Poverty Rate – Family17.3%
Poverty Rate – Family – Rank33
Unemployment Rate (March 2020)4.3
Unemployment Rank13
GDP Growth2.6
GDP Growth Rank20

Source: US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Student Loan Debt in Michigan

Percent of Population with Student Loans58%
Average Student Loan debt$31,289
Average Debt of New Graduates (2017-18)$32,158
Average Debt RankN/A
Percent of Graduates with Debt (2017-18)59%
Percent with Debt RankN/A
Usable Institutions (BA-Granting)25
Percent of Graduates at Schools with Usable Data80%
Nonfederal debt of graduates, as percent of total debt20%
Fall enrollment – Undergraduate total (IPEDS)488,714
Tuition and Fees (in-district/in-state)$13,320
Total Cost of Attendance (on-campus)$29,048
Percent of Institutional Grants that are Need-Based63%

Source: Value Penguin, TICAS

Cost of Living in Michigan

Annual Mean Wage (All Occupations)$49,510
Median Monthly Rent$871
Value of a Dollar$1.08
Cost of Living89.9
Cost of Living Rank12
Grocery Cost Index90.4
Housing Cost Index83.5
Utilities Cost Index95.5
Transportation Cost Index89.6
Miscellaneous Cost Index93.2

Source: World Population Review

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