Ian Wason, the CEO of DebtBusters, South Africa’s largest debt counsellor, warns on troubled times ahead for home loan providers “The increase of just 0.5% will have a massive impact on consumers with home loans. Not only are these consumers already faced with price hikes in electricity, rates and petrol, but many of them are overloaded with unsecured debt as well. This may be the final straw for many of them, and I would expect to see a large spike in defaults on the banks home loan books in the month ahead.”
28 November 2012
The National Credit Regulator has set up a Task Team to find possible solutions to the numerous inconsistencies the current debt review process is facing.
Luke Hirst, MD of DebtBusters says, ‘Consumers who sincerely want to get their finances in order are being hindered by court delays and reluctant credit providers. Granted, inexperienced debt counsellors have also played a role in the numerous issues, but this just emphasises the need for a task team who will deal with the entire procedure from a consumer facing perspective.’
Hirst argues, with a backlog of approximately 70 000 cases, consumers who are struggling to repay their debt and creditors who rely on these repayments are likely to view the process as a preferential solution.
Gabriel Davel, CEO of the NCR, SAYS, ‘While it was to be expected that there would be teething problems in implementing the two and a half year old National Credit Act (NCA), the only one of its kind worldwide, we decided we needed to act decisively to bring the situation under control.’
According to Stats SA, the number of people who applied for debt counselling in November 2008 was 36 246 compared with 132 291 in November 2009.This is a significant increase and evidently the debt review process needs to be consistent and reliable.
The Task team is to be in force for a period of six months and the individuals who are working within the team have been chosen according to experience and competence.
Hirst goes further to say, ‘It is imperative that there are standard procedures in place when dealing with applications for debt counselling. The ultimate objective of the task team should be to accommodate the over indebted individual, creditors and the debt counsellors. There should be no bias towards either party and the process should be as fair as possible.’