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African Bank Workshop With Debt Counsellors

Carina Best (Head of Alternative Collections at African Bank) and her team hosted a well supported workshop with Gauteng Debt Counsellors this month (13th Feb).

The event had a relaxed, cooperative and friendly feel and was a mixture of presentations and networking opportunities. For many Debt Counsellors attending it was an opportunity to put a face to a name that they had seen on email many times as the team was introduced. Guests even got to learn new things about the team (like who has how many kids and who drives a Tata) which helped everyone get relaxed. Despite some minor technical hiccups the day got off to a great start.

Presentations covered everything in their debt review space from Collections, Proposals, Legal, the call centre, how in duplum is implemented and new tools that African Bank are encouraging consumers and Debt Counsellors to make use of.

There were detailed discussions about each part of their process and how they view many matters. Added clarity like this is helpful to Debt Counsellors when dealing with the credit provider as it gives a better understanding of what to expect and how best to try work along with the bank (rather than at odds with their processes).

One point that came across strongly was that the African Bank alternative collections team want Debt Counsellors to talk to them. They would like to avoid legal action and confrontation when solutions are readily available. African Bank has a very good reputation for not pursuing unnecessary legal action against already troubled debt review consumers who are trying to pay off their debt responsibly.

A short video presentation about a savings account (with pockets that can be used to separate some funds for specific purposes) was shown and African Bank would love to see consumers make use of this product, which consumers can order online and collect anywhere. They would also like to see all Debt Counsellors making use of the “self serve” portal LegalWeb to access consumer info etc.

Some questions were fielded and some topics covered were concerns that African Bank branch level staff (over 600 branches) are still trying to dissuade consumers from making use of debt review. This is obviously upsetting to Debt Counsellors and can economically hurt the consumer. Other questions related to things like whether African Bank might consider a consolidation loan option for consumers in debt review.

The day, which was described by many as enjoyable and a success, ended just before a light lunch where attendees got to network and enjoy refreshments and food. The African Bank team then got to mingle with those attending and answer some other questions and concerns face to face.