DCASA W. Cape Meeting Round Up
The Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa holds regular regional meetings with members to discuss industry matters. This month a meeting was held in Cape Town. Both members and non-members attended the meeting along with meeting Sponsor/speakers Maximus.
Corrie of Maximus gave a convincing presentation about the benefits of using the Maximus front-end system (for Debt Counsellors and Attorneys)
Among other features, the system checks NCR Debt Help to see if a consumer is already on the NCR system. It also pulls information from the consumer’s credit report to pre-populate a bunch of info which can help with the consultation with the consumer.
Maximus allows Attorneys to draw documents for themselves about each consumer. The Debt Counsellor doesn’t have to then print and send them anything (other than a signed and commissioned affidavit) as the Attorney does all of that themselves.
The system has 7 different proposal plans for each consumers case. The Debt Counsellor can then chose the one they prefer and which will be best for the court and consumer involved.
The system allows you to adjust the cascade according to replies from credit providers (for example at court order stage). This is helpful when a particular credit provider asks for specific repayment amounts on specific months (eg at 12/24 months a particular change in repayments)
The system integrates with other service providers such as Meliorleaf (insurance) and the system assists with reckless credit investigations (it flags accounts which may require further investigation).
Maximus only costs R200/month for which not only does one gain access tot he system but also 200 free sms/month (you can sms right from the system) and 200 credit checks/month (Experian) (marital status checks are done via XDS)
Debt Review Awards
Zak King (one of our team) gave a brief presentation in regard to the Debt Review Awards. He covered both where things stand in the process as well as the plans for the coming Awards evening Gala which will be held in Cape Town this year. Local DCASA members have been invited to attend and were able to sign up in case they had not already received an invitation
Next, followed a discussion by Eugene (of PayPlan Solutions) about the proposed Debt Intervention Bill.
The Portfolio Committee on trade and industry have proposed changes to the National Credit Act to allow for something called Debt Intervention.
Been through different drafts over time as the Portfolio Committee have tried amended their plans in regard to debt intervention in response to feedback from the industry.
The process, much like administration, is aimed at consumers with R50 000 or less debt (with no assets)
The Portfolio Committee want the NCR to handle the matter (which would mean taking on hundreds or thousands of new staff to handle the workload).
It has been suggested that around 300 debt intervention counsellors with 3000 support staff are appointed. The DTI anticipated around 1.7 Million applications and the NCR would have to review the proposals every year.
‘The estimated cost to taxpayers to fund work at the NCR would be around R475 Million’
It is a huge workload and many fear capacity issues and the costs involved. The estimated cost to taxpayers to fund work at the NCR would be around R475 Million.
The first draft of the Bill received a lot of negative feedback when hearings were held at parliament and many threats were made about challenging the constitutionality of the bill which could eventually allow for some of these consumers debts to be written off after some time.
There were also many concerns expressed over the proposed criminalising not reporting reckless lending. Attention was drawn to the fact that consumers and credit providers do not face jail time over non-payment and accessing credit recklessly but it seemed incredible that anyone would try to make it a criminal offence not to report a possible reckless matter.
Dawn Jackson (Training)
Dawn discussed the old 4 day training that was done in the past (2007) that thrust new Debt Counsellors into the market and a very steep practical learning curve. Later this changed to a 2 week course.
Compuscan are now reviewing the NCA training course on behalf of the NCR. Compuscan will soon be sending out a survey about the training that DCs received. Ask that DCS participate. They will then use that feedback to help develop the new curriculum.
Dawn said that this is a: “unique moment in the industry’s history where things can be changed” and begged, “please participate“.
Dawn encourages DCs to continue to upskill their staff (spaced out and or part time. eg once/week over 10 weeks) can group staff from different companies working together during these mini training courses.
Justin from Consumer Friend came to discuss DReX. DReX is a portal which Debt Counsellors can use to draw (and push) information to and from Consumer Friend who handle debt review for many credit providers.
Consumer Friend have held a recent roadshow and in past done demos at various Debt Counsellor meetings. Justin discussed using the system with DCs.
To use the system there are no costs to DCs and Consumer Friend carry the cost and development expenses.
Justin reminded the audience that the system cuts down on waiting times and phone calls and emails and allows for drawing “live” account information with the click of a button.
He answered a number of questions and told Debt Counsellors who had queries that if you have queries that are not getting handled speedily then they should feel free to escalate after 5 days.
Credit Industry Forum Update
Members were then given a brief review of what has and has not been happening at CIF. Some of the highlights (or lowlights) were:
- DCRS has not been updated
- Joint Bonds – DCASA has been really pushing for finality on the matter because the NCA doesn’t properly provide for it at present. BASA would like to see some sort of reference to the debt review on the non debt review consumers credit record. DCASA disagree and have asked the NCR to issue a guideline.
- Reckless credit investigations were discussed as well as the fees and impact on credit providers. Credit providers do not want to give all the required documentation up front (due to massive cost and manpower implications).
- NCR’s Debt Help System has been updated and this was discussed. Most Debt Counsellors said they were happy. One item that was discussed was the status for ‘non payment’ by consumers which is still needed.
- Another item that was raised was the recent NCR correspondence in regard to balancing the information between the old Debt Help System and the new system (there are differences and many consumers status are not all reflecting accurately). Now that these differences are showing the NCR have come across as very aggressive.
- Pension Backed lending – This has been an ongoing issue at CIF and there is still no consensus.
- POPI Act – CIF are discussing how this impacts on the industry.
- The withdrawal guidelines are being reviewed and discussed at CIF. Especially in view of the new NCR fee guideline.