Debt Management and Debt Settlement

Montana law treats debt management and debt settlement companies differently. Debt management companies must be licensed by the Office of Consumer Protection. Debt settlement companies must register with this office, but there is no licensing requirement. The information on this page explains both processes and provides the necessary forms for both.

Debt Management Licensing

Under Montana law, any credit counseling or debt settlement company that wants to provide debt management plans in Montana must be licensed by the Montana Department of Justice and pay the annual $1,000 licensing fee.

Businesses that currently offer debt management plans but do not plan to become licensed in Montana have to let their Montana customers cancel or complete their plans, or switch to a licensed provider. In addition, such businesses must:

  • notify the Office of Consumer Protection in writing and provide a list of all existing Montana customers
  • not enroll any additional Montana customers

To become licensed to provide Debt Management Services:

  1. Complete the Debt Management Licensing Application and enclose:
    • the annual $1,000 license fee payable to the State of Montana
    • the $50,000 Surety Bond Form, completed by a bonding company
    • a Certificate of Compliance, which is required for each individual who completes any portion of this application process. This certificate must be notarized.
  2. Mail the completed package to:
    Office of Consumer Protection
    2225 11th Avenue
    P.O. Box 200151
    Helena, MT 59620-0151

If a business that has been operating in Montana has incurred any civil fines related to its debt management services, the business must pay those fines before it can become licensed.

Penalties – There are civil penalties for failing to get the necessary license. Contact the OCP at (406) 444-4500 with any questions.
ExemptionsSection 30-14-2002 of the Montana Code Annotated exempts certain professions from these licensing requirements:

  • banking institutions, building and loan associations, credit unions, escrow businesses or title companies
  • attorneys, if providing credit counseling services is incidental to and not their principal business
  • certified public accountants, if providing credit counseling services is incidental to and not their principal business
  • debt collectors who do not advertise or portray themselves as a credit counseling service

All licensing forms are here:

Title Description Form Number Revised Date Downloadable Format
Debt Management Licensing Application Used by businesses to apply for the license required to provide debt management services in Montana. OCP-301 9/09 PDF
Debt Management Licensing Surety Bond Form Used by businesses to show proof of the required $50,000 surety bond. OCP-303 12/08 PDF
Debt Management Licensing Certificate of Compliance Legal certification that the information provided by a business seeking a debt management license is true and accurate. OCP-304 12/08 PDF

Contact

Office of Consumer Protection
2225 11th Avenue
P.O. Box 200151
Helena, MT 59620-0151

Phone: (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500
Fax: (406) 444-9680
E-mail: contactocp@mt.gov

Debt Settlement Company Registration

Any person or business engaging in the business of debt settlement for compensation is regulated by Montana law pursuant to MCA 30-14-2101 through 2104. Completion of the Debt Settlement Registration and payment of the $250 filing fee are required annually. Businesses currently offering debt settlement services are required to register.

To register to provide Debt Settlement Services in Montana:

  1. Read the letter (PDF) explaining Montana’s Debt Settlement filing requirements, which went into effect in 2009.
  2. Complete the Debt Settlement Registration Checklistand enclose:
    • the annual $250 filing fee payable to the State of Montana
    • a notarized Certificate of Compliance, which is required for each individual who completes this application process. The certificate must be notarized.
    • Mail the completed package to:
      Office of Consumer Protection
      2225 11th Avenue
      P.O. Box 200151
      Helena, MT 59620-0151

All registration forms are here:

Title Description Form Number Revised Date Downloadable Format
Debt Settlement Provider Filing Checklist Used as a debt settlement provider filing checklist. OCP-801 1/10 PDF
Debt Settlement Provider Certificate of Compliance Used as a debt settlement provider certificate of compliance. OCP-802 9/09 PDF

Contact

Jenny Eck, Program Leader
Office of Consumer Protection
2225 11th Avenue
P.O. Box 200151
Helena, MT 59620-0151

Phone: (406) 444-2071
Fax: (406) 444-9680
E-mail: jeck@mt.gov