Debt Counsellor Profile: Denver Bright
The May 2014 issue of Debtfree DIGI features an interview with Debt Counsellor Denver Bright of DB Debt Counsellors. We asked him all about the highs and lows of being a Debt Counsellor and the challenges both Debt Counsellors and consumers face.
Here is a look at that interview:
How long have you been a DC?
I have been a registered DC for a year but have previously been involved in various roles in DC Companies since 2008.
What did you do before becoming a DC?
I have been involved in various consumer focused companies, from Law Firms to Administrators, in a multitude of capacities since 1995.
What area (of SA) do you practice in?
We are based in East London where our main focus is, however we have clients from as far afield as Pretoria and Nelspruit. We also assist consumers via “road trips” in the area between East London and Mthatha.
Do you have a small/med/large DC company?
We are a small practice and prefer to limit our number of clients which allows us to provide a more focused and personalised service to each client that comes through our doors.
What makes your business a success?
I, and my hand-picked staff, are extremely passionate about consumer assistance. We only accept the best and you will find us all, DC’s and support staff alike, going the extra mile to assist a client. We have two sayings that are often repeated in discussions, “Consumer First” and “Is it Right?”. These are taken to heart and applied in each scenario that we face.
Where do you find new business?
Due to the high standard of service which we provide to our existing clients, we tend to receive most new clients from referrals. We also do “road trips” to the schools, police stations, hospitals and clinics around us and give Financial Health talks. These consist of general financial health advice and tips on ways to manage credit better. Lastly we also maintain an active Facebook page which brings in referrals as well. We have found that the more traditional advertising channels do not seem to work for this type of service and interaction with consumers directly works best.
Who are your most co-operative and least co-operative credit provider at the moment?
The Good: Consumer Friend is always going the extra mile to assist in achieving a suitable arrangement that will assist a consumer.
The Bad: Unfortunately we are finding that Nedbank and Standard Bank are very quick to litigate or terminate without taking into account all relevant aspects.
The Unfortunate: Edcon still seems to send out system generated letters but never meaningfully actually participates in the debt review process.
What is the biggest challenge facing Debt Counsellors at the moment?
We find that the biggest challenge is currently, and has always been, the refusal of some of the bigger creditors to work together with DC’s to assist a consumer. They will work to the letter of the law but refuse to allow any leeway when it comes to negotiations. Banks refusing to timeously cancel Debit Orders also causes frustrations and undue hardship for the Consumer and Debt Counsellor.
What is the biggest challenge facing your consumers at the moment?
Many of our clients are not employed in salary earning positions and our current tight economy is causing extra strain on already limited finances. We are finding that more often our consumer’s income is shrinking instead of growing and this obviously is not ideal. In these situations we attempt to re-negotiate with the credit providers for a short term solution. We are also finding that credit providers are approaching consumers more often these days and offering alternative options. Look closely at what is being offered and discuss the options with your DC.
What advice do you have for consumers under debt review?
Stick it out, it does get better. The feeling of achievement when a consumer reaches the end and is able to look back and say “I did it!” is awesome. As long as you stick to the plan you will also reach that point.
TEL: 043 726 0158