Counseling services dealing with financial, housing and health problems will be offered by Arlington-Fairfax Savings and Loan Association starting Dec. 1.
Called the Personal Resource Planning Service, it is aimed at providing basic information for that great middle mass of people who are too well off to qualify for free legal aid but not well enough off to hire specialists.
Counselors are trained to answer questions ranging from where to get a copy of a birth certificate to the difference between types of investments, from how to get a second opinion on surgery to the various financing options available for home buyers. Advisers cannot provide legal, tax, insurance or accounting advice. They can give the names of referral groups from whom individuals can seek additional help on specific problems. A copy of the manual Life Planning Workbook can be obtained free of charge.
Those seeking help need not be Arlington-Fairfax customers.But naturally the thrift association hopes to recruit new accounts through contacts made during counseling.
Arlington-Fairfax purchased the regional franchise for this service from Midwest Savings and Loan in Minneapolis, which created the service four years ago. Jeanie Duck, its originator, said Midwest had secured $8 million in new deposits during the first 15 months of the program's operation. The initial outlay was $93,000.
Duck directed the week's training offered to Arlington-Fairfax's counselors. The thrift, which has 16 offices in Northern Virginia, will delegate two of its employes as full-time counselors and another 10 as part-time counselors. The counselors, led by Alice Petree, will operate out of five offices. To ascertain which, telephone 532-1146.
Duck said the average initial meeting lasts between 20 and 45 minutes, with follow-up questions by telephone. For persons unwilling or unable to go to the offices, counselors will confer by phone as well.
In Midwest's experience, some persons solicited the service out of curiosity; yet the vast majority came in following a triggering event such as divorce, the death of a spouse or retirement. The information given is of a general nature. For example, a person inquiring about a legal matter would be referred to the county bar association. But Arlington-Fairfax also claims to know how to cut a lot of government red tape.
Duck emphasizes counselors in the Personal Resource Planning are neither trying to act as certified financial planners or other professionals nor as debt consolidators. The service is intended neither for the affluent nor for the person who is grossly overextended, but rather for the individual with a modest amount of assets and sophistication.