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Editor's Note

Where were you 10 Years Ago?

In 2014 our team were helping host the first annual Debt Review Awards in Cape Town.

Around 100 guests crammed into the financially historic building on Spin street and heard the results of the various industry panels. Since then the process has changed and now an industry peer review process helps identify who will take home the Golden Piggy Bank Awards each year.

This month the team were once again busy helping host the 10th annual Awards event. A decade has flown by.

And what do we have to show for 10 years?

Well, more loadshedding, new wars in new places, global warming causing extreme weather, a weaker Rand and higher inflation. We have seen a global pandemic come and go (kinda go) and things have been tough, for sure.

What we do now see is a much matured debt review industry.

We now see a higher use of the NCT to help keep consumers legal costs down. We see increase API integration between the banks and PDA systems. We see consumers and Debt Counsellors able to access account information via various portals and we see Courts that are far more familiar with the process.

We have also seen the industry grow and change in interesting ways. Of the 4500 people who have qualified to be a Debt Counsellor over the years, most have since quit. Now only a small remnant of around 1700 people are actively helping consumers through the process.

The industry has embraced advanced client management and calculation software and these days we see many Debt Counsellors operating together in larger sized practices pooling resources than ever before.

‘Back then we thought one practice having 4000 clients was massive’

Back then we thought one practice having 4000 clients was massive. Now, we see many practices with over 10 000 clients (and some with many more). Though the number of consumers coming into and out of the process is still similar to that in 2014 (tragic) the role players have changed somewhat.

Other things have also changed in a decade. Common challenges back then have fortunately come and gone. Gone are the days of mass “terminations” in an attempt to get people out of debt review.

Still, these days we see an increase in scammers trying to trick people by pretending to be able to get them out of debt review and miraculously back into the credit market even though they still have debt. Social media is rife with such rubbish.

All this came to mind as we were helping prepare and run the Debt Review Awards gala this year. We were making use of social media and live streaming tricks we all embraced during Covid to reach more people than ever across the country and the venue in Gauteng was packed with the industry’s “who’s who”.

This issue we have a detailed recap of the event for those who could not be there in person.

We also take a look at the dangers of both the desire for instant gratification and shopping holidays like Black Friday. We have tips, news, advice, in depth looks at what is brewing in the world of debt review and how it might impact you. We hope you enjoy it.

10 years can fly by.

Hopefully in ten years’ time we will look back and think how bad times were in 2023 and how far we have come since. That would be great. And presumably by then we will also all be debt free.