Reading Time: 4 minutes

DCASA Regional Meeting

This month saw the final round of regional DCASA meetings across the country for 2019. In the various provinces credit providers, PDAs and other service providers were invited to present or answer debt review related questions from Debt Counsellor members.

At one of the regional meetings, Alex Kemp of Hyphen PDA was on had to discuss the coming changes to how debit orders are going to be authorised called: DebiCheck. With the deadlines for the project finally getting here (with more in 2020) DebiCheck is finally starting to impact the industry. Hyphen conducted tests during 2019 to see how many consumers would authenticate debits through the system and found that a big problem was that the banks did not have the consumer’s correct contact information. They have since spoken to the system vendors that plug into Hyphen PDA and advised them to build in checks in this regard. Maximus and Simplicity now do a quick check when a new debit is added and let you know if the consumer’s details at the bank match those you have captured at the time of application. The test runs that Hyphen conducted resulted in nearly half of all attempts to load a DebiCheck debit failing (46%) because of the bank’s contact info not matching.

One of the interesting aspects of DebiCheck is that if a debit goes off and there is no money in the account four times, the debit order will be cancelled and need to be set up again. In the past, many consumers were seeing debit orders just keep trying to go off and then being charged ridiculous fees as a result.

With DebiCheck there are different types of debit orders (with different costs) and different ways or time periods for the consumer to authenticate the new debit. Hyphen found during their test that the fastest ‘same day’ option was most likely to be accepted by the consumer while the new arrangement was still fresh in their memory.

Next, African Bank made a presentation and answered some questions. The always friendly, Ms Carina Best showed a slide of all her team members and explained who does what. She and colleague Botshelo Mashengo then discussed their tests conducted with regard to DebiCheck. Their statistics were even more concerning as they said only 20% of the debits added to the system were ever authenticated by the consumers in the test.

They discussed how African Bank has an automated email sorting system and how it looks for keywords and then assigned the emails to different teams. This can present a challenge if Debt Counsellors try to put too much in one email Eg. if you try to send a debit order cancellation in the same email as a request for a CoB. One of the two might get lost. It is better to send two separate emails.

They discussed some bugs they have seen on the Legal Web system and features that have temporarily been disabled as a result. They hope they will be back and running soon. For example, the system was giving paid up letters on accounts that are not paid up and was giving debit order cancellation confirmation when this was in fact not true.

Carina discussed how African Bank, unlike some other banks, is (within reason) very willing to take terminated accounts back into debt review as soon as payments start up again. This was extremely well received by the large crowd of Debt Counsellors in attendance.

Sharon van Niekerk of Wesbank had the tricky job of apologising for some of the recent issues coming out of Wesbank debt review recently. They have also had some issues with their automated system. One of the problems was the system not sending acceptance letters even though it sent an email that one would be sent…

Wesbank are targeting a 3 day turn around for matters. They try to avoid court confrontation unless the proposals do not match what is in the court documents or where the court documents do not show the actual proposal.

In a first time appearance, Celeste Hendricks and the full debt review team from both Finchoice and Homechoice attended and presented. They have a book of over 15 000 clients under debt review across their brands. They are receiving around 400 new clients each week and are regularly dealing with around 400 different Debt Counsellors each month.

They reminded people that TC Recoveries are handling older matters from before 2019 and said they had been delighted to receive recognition at this year’s Debt Review Awards.

The various DCASA regional meetings also featured updates of what has been happening in the industry, at the Credit Industry Forum (CIF) and with the NCR.

  • The NCR plan to send out a new guideline on consumers withdrawing from Debt Review after the Gauteng Courts also ruled on the topic in recent cases.
  • DCASA research indicates that 23% of CoBs are still being sent after the required time period (which delays consumer’s debt review matters).
  • It is reported that PDAs may soon be given a new fee structure. The various PDAs met with DTI representatives at the end of October to discuss this matter again. Also, it appears that the DTI will issue new regulations that allow PDAs to hold onto consumer payments for a bit longer to avoid the majority of disputes. This will save them a lot of money and fees.

Those attending also got to enjoy a light lunch and time to mingle before heading back to work.