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28 November 2012
According to the latest report on industry lending figures, unsecured loans lending grew faster in the last quarter of 2009 than before the recession, suggesting consumers may be taking out personal loans to cover their other debt commitments.
The National Credit Regulator’s Consumer Credit Report shows that unsecured lending (personal loans, credit cards and store cards) increased to R10, 5bn in Q4 from R8, 4bn in the previous period.
Luke Hirst, MD of Debt experts DebtBusters, says ‘This is the highest it’s been since the NCR started recording this in the fourth quarter of 2007. This is of great concern as the numbers indicate that indebted South African consumers are just taking out more debt with a much higher interest rate to finance current debt, and so the debt spiral continues. ‘
Gabriel Davel, CEO of The NCR commented yesterday, ‘I suspect that as consumers struggle to get access to other forms of secured credit, a lot of them turn to unsecured.’
Of the 18.07 million credit-active consumers on record 10.75 million South African consumers are in arrears and are struggling to meet their debt obligations.
Hirst cautions, ‘An excess of 170 000 consumers have applied for debt counselling to date. This number is only rising each month. The first step is to approach their credit providers to try negotiate lower instalments. If this proves difficult then they need to contact a registered debt counsellor to negotiate on their behalf.’