SBSA Debt Review Booklet
Standard Bank have recently been distributing an info booklet to Debt Counsellors (and others) about their debt review policies and process. The goal is to help Debt Counsellors (and other service providers) in their debt review business. It contains helpful info about Standard Bank Debt Review Department (like recent contact info and escalation processes) and helps give insight on the way they handle debt review applications.
The booklet starts at the beginning of the process and shows that they deal with over 40 000 documents each month send to them via email. These are reviewed and processed within the goal of 24 hours from receipt.
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Sometimes when a Debt Counsellor sends a request for info to Standard Bank they may get a notification that they are unable to assist. The Debt Counsellor might send clear direction to cancel a debit order for example and this might be very urgent. The bank may, however, have to refuse to do so. Why might this happen?
The booklet highlights a number of situations where they may not be able to help (yet).
Standard Bank have restated the importance of using the reference numbers as shown in the CoBs they send back to Debt Counsellors. A CoB is a Certificate of Balance for an account (similar to a statement) with info on the current standing on the account. Standard Bank are happy to supply CoBs on request (for example, where the Debt COunsellor is doing an annual check up on the matter).
‘Each CoB also contains a clause accepting delivery of legal documents via Fax or email’
Where an account is “excluded” from debt review the information on that account will be provided. For example, the account may have prescribed (not need to be paid any longer), summons may have been issued or a judgement taken or the debt may have been sold on to another party.
Each CoB also contains a clause accepting delivery of legal documents via Fax or email. This helps in regard to court matters.
Much of the booklet is taken up with info about proposals. Debt Counsellors send credit providers their plan that they will submit to court in advance of the court matter to see if the credit providers are happy with the plan or not. This allows them to inform the court of each credit providers response (even if the credit provider doesn’t send anyone to court to represent them). Standard Bank may say they are not happy with the proposal (or “reject” the proposal) for a variety of reasons. They may not be happy because the debt is brand new (within 6 months) or they may see that the Debt Counsellor is changing interest rates down to 0% right away or that interest on the debt is not being covered by the proposed amount. Though the courts get to have the final say, it is polite and good business for the credit provider and Debt Counsellor to try discuss these matters before court. This reduces the number of legal battles that are faced at the court stage.
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It is also noted in the booklet that should the consumer have decided to replace their insurance cover on the accounts then the Debt Counsellor can speed things along by providing proof of the cancellation.
Concessions that the bank makes in regard to home loans can be tricky since Standard Bank tell the courts they are happy to make a reduced arrangement only for 60 months before they review the matter (and decide whether to go back to court to try to get the court order changed) but often a Magistrate or judge will make a court order for the full term of the debts. The bank may have to motivate this to a Magistrate on the day or years later should they want the order adjusted.
Standard Bank have also agreed to abide by the DCRS rules set and accept proposals that are made via this system. These guidelines differ somewhat (not too much) from their preferred proposal profile if received via other calculations. For example, under the DCRS calculations, Standard Bank will accept interest rates as low as 0% on unsecured credit in some circumstances. They will then send an acceptance letter which can be shown to the court to speed up what the court decides to do with the debt. Recently, however, the statistics show that DCRS use has once again dropped to less than 16% of current debt review applications. The system has been hit by many comebacks (many justified) on vehicle matters and this has further negatively affected usage.
There are some cases where Standard Bank will oppose a court order asking for the debt to be restructured. For example, where they have already started another collections process, where the Debt Counsellor has suggested a lower interest rate than the original credit agreement (that the consumer signed) shows – without the bank agreeing or where the bank wants the court to rather suggest a different payment amount over a different amount of time (they feel they have a better suggestion for the court).
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‘check the back pages of every issue of Debtfree Magazine for current contact and escalation details from this credit provider’
Use the Consumers ID Number in Your Email Title
Several times throughout the booklet making sure to include the consumer’s ID number into the email title is mentioned. This helps speed up the bank’s processes. Please endeavour to do so. They also ask Debt Counsellors not to email the same matter to multiple email addresses. This makes extra work for them (sorting it out) and actually slows down their response times. Debt Counsellors can check the back of every issue of Debtfree magazine for current contact and escalation details from this credit provider.
Want a Copy?
If you would like a copy of the booklet, be sure to ask Standard Bank as having it on your desk may help you deal with debt review negotiations and correspondence easier. Debt Counsellors who recently engaged with Standard Bank at the NCR annual Conference were very happy to get copies of the booklet which now provides them with a quick reference and some clarity on the bank’s policies.