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June 2022 DCASA Meetings

The Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa (DCASA) are hosting a new round of regional meetings for Debt Counsellors (and credit providers are welcome to attend) across the country.

Debt Counsellors are once again able to get together more freely (with the end of Covid-19 related restrictions on in person meetings) and exchange ideas, suggestions and feedback. DCASA is providing the opportunity for Debt Counsellors across the country to meet in their area and will also be hosting their annual conference in Gauteng on the 17th of August.

Sponsors like DC Partner and Consumer Friend are helping cover the costs of such meetings and even generously cover the cost of some light snacks for those attending. They are also making themselves available to the attendees to answer questions and to make presentations relating to their services.

A recent topic (related to a subject that has been an issue for many, many, many years in the industry was FNB Checque accounts and how best to handle these accounts in the debt review process.

There were presentations at some meetings about the upcoming Debt Review Awards Show (where the results of the annual industry peer reviews are announced). This will be at the end of September 2022 with a Hybrid in person and online event.

Industry Updates

Normally at past meetings, the association would present an update about what has been happening at the NCR run Credit Industry Forum but for some years now the NCR has abandoned any such meetings. It is unclear when the CIF will start to meet again but many have commented that the lack of such meetings seems to be allowing for increased disconnect between the banks and Debt Counsellors on how matters are being handled.

While some Debt Counsellors feel that the CIF process is fatally flawed; as it is discussing matters that would better be handled through significant changes to the National Credit Act; others feel that such changes will take years if not decades to be enacted. It is true that many glaring challenges with the NCA have been totally ignored in past amendments leaving the courts to produce conflicting rulings on many matters.

‘It is unclear when the CIF will start to meet again’

Regardless, the CIF have not been meeting and so there were no updates offered at the meeting other to inform those attending that the long hoped for changes to DCRS (a rules engine that Debt Counsellors can use to make proposals if they want) are probably going to be in place at the end of 2022 or early 2023. One such change will be for the DCRS system to do cascading payments such as all the PDA computer systems have already been able to do for many years now.

DCASA are now sending out questionnaires to their members and trying to provide feedback to individual large credit providers in an effort to bridge the gap left by the lack of such CIF meetings.

Other topics that were briefly discussed at some meetings were challenges with SA Homeloans and Capitec Bank’s system constraints (on Fairshare). Many such challenges can be resolved through good communication with the credit provider or via their escalation processes.

The discussions also briefly touched on ABSA Bank and Vericred providing Debt Counsellors with access to info and updates via their own online portals (similar to the long standing and very useful DReX portal from Consumer Friend (Slip Stream). It is hoped access will speed up processes. Some DCASA members have been involved in testing the systems.

The meetings have been well attended and many members are looking forward both to the annual DCASA Conference in Gauteng in August and the Debt Review Awards Show in September.