Credit Industry Forum 2023
The National Credit Act (NCA) and its regulations form the foundation of the debt counselling industry.
The Act sets out the broad strokes of the debt counselling process (including doing a debt review and then restructuring debt).
Still, there are many areas in the NCA where things are a little vague or unclear. So, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) have set out over the years to consider these “gaps” and to come up with helpful (non binding) guidelines of how such things might be handled.
Over the years, these non binding guidelines have helped most parties get on the same page and though some like them and others do not, they have helped move the industry forward through some tough times of uncertainty.
Note: The courts and NCT seldom, if ever enforce such guidelines since they are by their very nature as set out in the wording of the NCA a non binding opinion about some aspect of the NCA or process.
In an effort to bring greater consensus to their guidelines up front, the NCR have tried to bring several industry leading parties into a forum where they can discuss matters and try reach consensus and make suggestions to the NCR that helps them formulate guidelines on such topics.
This is a way to try engage with a sample of the industry and gauge what the general response will be and an effort to gather a wide range of input on topics before formulating their own opinions. Consultation is always a good way to go.
This forum is called the Credit Industry Forum or CIF.
The CIF was conspicuously quiet or even entirely missing for quite some time since Covid hit. After some pressure from the industry late in 2022, the NCR fired up the CIF again and got the ball rolling in 2023.
Unlike past years, the NCR decided to focus on fewer issues this year due to time and other constraints. Also, several topics naturally interlink and so are dependant on discussions on those other topics being dealt with first.
This year the main focus was on (1) Reckless Lending and (2) a possible change to the timing of the release of funds for the initial restructuring fee that Debt Counsellors charge (the Sub Committee has a different name about “fees” but this is somewhat misleading given the scope of the discussions).
Here is a brief summary of the number of CIF meetings for 2023:
Main CIF Body: 2 Meetings
Fee Sub Committee: 1 Meeting
Reckless Lending Sub Committee: 1 Meeting
Members have expressed their desire to try hold more regular meetings in 2024 to continue to contribute to these important topics.