What is a Credit Service Organization?
A credit service organization is a business that charges a fee to assist a buyer to obtain an extension of credit or to improve or preserve a buyer’s credit rating. These organizations can also prevent or delay the foreclosure of a mortgage or other security agreement. Credit service organizations are required to post a surety bond for most states as part of their licensing requirements. The bond protects buyers of various credit services from fraudulent practices that could cause them financial harm. In other words, this form of surety bond guarantees that credit service organizations comply with all applicable state regulations.
These bonds are also commonly referred to as CSO Bonds, Credit Repair Services, Credit Counseling Organization and Debt Management Service Provider Bonds.
Questions about Credit Services Organization Bonds in Maryland
How much does a credit service organization bond cost?
As is the case with most license bonds, the cost will depend primarily on the owner’s personal credit and the financial strength of the business. Applicants with strong credit typically will pay between 1 to 3% of the bond amount in the form of annual premium.
Those with damaged credit may have to pay higher rates, in the range of 4 to 15%.
For more in depth information on bond prices, visit our page on Surety Bond Costs.
Will my bond provide coverage in multiple states?
Each state has its own credit service organization license and bond requirements. Therefore, to be licensed to do business in a given state, you’ll need to have an individual bond for that specific state.
What are examples of fraudulent practices?
Most actions that will lead to a violation are related to misrepresentation, unethical actions, or failure to follow state laws. An example would be if the credit service organization makes, or advises a client to make, a false or misleading statement relating to their creditworthiness to a consumer reporting agency or to a company that has extended them credit.
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