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.
- 1000 Beach Street Flint, MI, 48502-1421
- (248) 645-1700
- Rating: 8.29/10
Thav Gross, P.C.
- 30150 Telegraph Rd Ste 444 Bingham, Farms, MI, 48025-4549
- (248) 645-1700
- 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
- Rating: 8.6/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Sterling Heights (Temporarily Closed)
- 43120 Utica Rd Ste 300 Sterling Heights, MI, 48314-3579
- (888) 776-6735
- Rating: 8.7/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Southfield
- 24333 Lahser Rd #6041 Southfield, MI, 48033-6041
- (800) 550-1961
- Rating: 8.81/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Novi (Permanently Closed)
- 27780 Novi Rd Ste 105 Novi, MI, 48377-3427
- (888) 776-6735
- Rating: 8.91/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Monroe
- 102 E Front St. Monroe, MI, 48161-2162
- (888) 776-6735
- Rating: 9.02/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Jackson
- 2055 Spring Arbor Rd. Jackson, MI, 49203-2705
- (888) 776-6735
- Rating: 9.13/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Flint
- 2425 S Linden Rd Ste D Ste 134 Flint, MI, 48532-5474
- (810) 230-1077
- Rating: 9.24/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Flat Rock
- 26121 Vreeland Rd. Flat Rock, MI, 48134-1690
- (888) 776-6735
- Rating: 9.35/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Farmington Hills (Corporate Office)
- 36500 Corporate Dr. Farmington Hills, MI, 48331-3553
- (888) 776-6735
- Rating: 9.47/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Detroit
- 2111 Woodward Ave Ste 906 Detroit, MI, 48201-3421
- (313) 961-1018
- Rating: 9.58/10
GreenPath Financial Wellness – Canton (Permanently Closed)
- 44978 Ford Rd Ste C Canton, MI, 48187-2903
- (888) 776-6735
- 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:
- 1 Carrot Way
- P.O. Box 131037 Ann Arbor, MI 48105
- (734) 761-2796
- 5600 Food Ct Bath, MI 48906
- (517) 853-7800
- 5451 Wayne Road Battle Creek, MI 49037
- (269) 964-3663
- 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
- 2300 Lapeer Road Flint, MI 48503
- (810) 239-4441
- 15000 W. Eight Mile Rd. Oak Park, MI 48237
- (248) 967-1500
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.
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)
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
|Debt Per Capita||$3,352|
|Debt Per Capita Rank||29|
Source: World Population Review
Michigan Credit Card Debt Statistics
|Average Credit Card Balance||$5,339|
|Average Credit Score||719|
|Avg Credit Card Balance Rank (1 = Highest Balance)||39|
|Avg Credit Score Rank (1=Highest Score)||28|
Mortgage Debt in Michigan
|Mortgage Debt Per Capita||$23,870|
|Avg 30 yr Mortgage Rate||5.78%|
|Avg 15 yr Mortgage Rate||4.9%|
|Median Home Value||$169,600|
|Avg Outstanding Mortgage Debt||$150,482|
|Difference Between Value and Mortgage Debt||$19,118|
|Avg Homeowner FICO Score||718|
Source: Federal Reserve, Value Penguin, Experian
Payday Loan Debt in Michigan
|Payday Loan Legal Status||Legal|
|Max Payday Loan Amount||600|
|Max Payday Loan Term||31 days|
|Max Payday Loan APR||407%|
Source: Michigan Government Website
Unemployment and the Economy of Michigan
|Poverty Rate – Population||13%|
|Poverty Rate – Population – Rank||34|
|Poverty Rate – Family||17.3%|
|Poverty Rate – Family – Rank||33|
|Unemployment Rate (March 2020)||4.3|
|GDP Growth Rank||20|
Source: US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Student Loan Debt in Michigan
|Percent of Population with Student Loans||58%|
|Average Student Loan debt||$31,289|
|Average Debt of New Graduates (2017-18)||$32,158|
|Average Debt Rank||N/A|
|Percent of Graduates with Debt (2017-18)||59%|
|Percent with Debt Rank||N/A|
|Usable Institutions (BA-Granting)||25|
|Percent of Graduates at Schools with Usable Data||80%|
|Nonfederal debt of graduates, as percent of total debt||20%|
|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-Based||63%|
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 Living||89.9|
|Cost of Living Rank||12|
|Grocery Cost Index||90.4|
|Housing Cost Index||83.5|
|Utilities Cost Index||95.5|
|Transportation Cost Index||89.6|
|Miscellaneous Cost Index||93.2|
Source: World Population Review