Standard Bank Debt Review Department’s Top Queries
You may wonder what queries a bank’s debt review department have to deal with the most each month. Standard Bank have reported on some of their stats which helps give an insight into the matters that they are queried on the most. Let’s count down the top 3 requests.
#3 Updated Balance Requests
SBSA Debt Review report that they deal with around 400 of these requests each month. Since consumers often have multiple accounts with Standard Bank, they often get requests for new current balances on several accounts at the same time.
Don’t feel like waiting for info? Remember that clients can use their internet banking to check on balances if activated. Alternatively, the call centre is able to provide these figures much faster than just via electronic request.
#2 Client Status Requests
Another 400 or so requests are received each month to try check on a consumers status at SBSA. Debt Counsellors make contact and ask Standard Bank to confirm that the client is indeed showing as under debt review on the SBSA system.
Standard Bank report that sometimes they are sending info to older email addresses which may have changed. They request all debt Counsellors to keep them up to date with any changes of email or postal address.
#1 Reinstatement of Debt Review Status
The top request that SBSA Debt Review department are dealing with every day is requests to internally reinstate accounts under the debt review status. they report around 600 a month minimum.
Credit providers have the right to remove this status from the account and begin alternative collections methods if after 60 business days the consumer is not paying in line with the proposal sent and agreed upon or if the consumer stops paying as per the requirements of the court order.*
What may be an issue is where the bank has loaded a repayment plan (month by month) and a payment comes in that deviates from this plan. The system may kick it out and begin a process of sending an 86(10) – a notice of termination. This notice says that the credit provider may begin to pursue collection via another method. The credit provider may even go to court and try get a judgement.
‘a “termination” letter 86(10) notification does not “end the debt review”‘
It is important to note that a “termination” letter 86(10) notification does not “end the debt review” rather it simply allows the credit provider to start alternative collections methods. The debt review is bigger than any one credit provider. Also, a Debt Review matter is a legal matter brought before a court not by the consumer but by a Debt Counsellor. A credit provider cannot simply ignore the legal action and has to go to court and defend the matter if they are unhappy for any reason.
If at any stage, after sending a 86(10) notification, the matter goes before a court again (say if the bank were to send a summons) then the consumer can present a defense based on NCA section 86(11) [the very next section of the Act] and ask the court to simply put the matter back into line with the debt review restructuring order. Then the credit provider will move the account back to the debt review department internally.
‘A credit provider cannot simply ignore the legal action and has to go to court and defend the matter if they are unhappy for any reason’
Credit providers do not need to be forced to do so by a court if they reach an agreement with the Debt Counsellor and can do so willingly. This is called a “reinstatement”.
Standard Bank asks that if a Debt Counsellor sends a proposal relating to the debt review and gets no response within a few days they should make contact with them again as there may have been a communication disconnect somehow. Maybe the bank and Debt Counsellor are using the wrong email addresses, for example. A quick call and check up might reduce the chance that SBSA will issue an 86(10) notice and move the account off to their collections department again.
Avoid Problems By Communicating
If a consumer short pays their debt review (eg. they are meant to pay R1000 and they only pay R900) then each creditor will get less than promised. This can cause the bank to “kick” and account off to their collections department from the debt review department. It is thus very important for consumers to always pay the full amount (or more) each month. The timing when a payment is made is also important as the bank may be expecting payment on a particular day or in a particular week and if it arrives late they may already have sent the account back to the collections department. If a consumer has any reason to think they might pay the wrong amount or later than expected they should talk to their Debt Counsellors well in advance, so that they can warn credit providers and try save the debt review.
*It is important that matters get submitted to court. Sooner is always better and if a matter is before court the credit provider is not to try duck and dive and go to another court but must attend the debt review application first.