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Creditors are businesses that people owe money to, including:
• Credit unions and banks
• Retail stores
• Credit card companies
• Utility companies
• Landlords

If you are unable to make a payment on time or in full, contact the creditor right away and explain your situation before a missed payment becomes a problem or pattern. Most creditors are willing to find a solution, especially if you have paid your bills on time in the past.

When working with creditors:
• Keep a written record of who you spoke to, when you spoke, and what was discussed or agreed.
• Write to the creditor to confirm any agreement that was reached during a phone conversation.
• Stick to the agreement and inform your creditor if a problem arises.

If you ignore unpaid bills and loan repayments, a creditor may turn your account over to a debt-collection agency. If that happens, it will be more difficult to negotiate new terms and conditions for payment. Communication with the creditor is especially important on secured debt (i.e., auto loans and mortgages), because the security can be repossessed if you default on payments, which could mean losing your car or house. If you are in danger of having your home foreclosed, speak with your case manager, a lawyer, or call the local housing authority.

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