CIF Update on End Balance Differences
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) organises and coordinates a cooperative industry round table discussion group called the Credit Industry Forum (CIF). Various bodies that represent consumers, credit providers as well as Debt Counsellors attend these debt review related meetings.
Members are able to make suggestions and assist on various sub-committees which consider the industry and areas that the National Credit Act may not directly address (or where there are a variety of interpretations). The idea is to reach some sort of consensus in regard to such matters to try to promote uniformity across the industry. The NCR often take the suggestions made at the CIF meetings and Committees and issue a non-binding opinion or ‘guideline’ to the industry. Members of the industry can then adopt these suggestions to try fit in with how the majority of industry parties agree to handle such matters (if they want).
‘The idea is to reach some sort of consensus in regard to such matters to try to promote uniformity across the industry’
Withdrawal from Debt Review
The NCA makes getting into debt review super simple but is vague or uninformative about leaving the process. This has been an ongoing issue for many years with several NCA amendments made and only a single improvement made over the years – the ability to leave debt review while you are still paying off your bond.
In 2015 a guideline was introduced that helped provide a little clarity on how things can work, however, it was soon realised that in practice that guideline created almost as many problems as it addressed. The CIF decided to tackle the vital issue again after several years. A subcommittee was appointed and opinions taken and compiled.
New Withdrawal Guideline on Hold
A new potential guideline was created but in the meantime, some court cases have come up which the NCR has joined and hope will provide legal clarity on how Debt Counsellors and Credit Providers can apply the NCA the best. As such, no guideline will be issued at this time until the court cases are ruled on and the outcomes considered.
One of the biggest snags for consumers at present is that the credit bureaus are all too happy to list them as having a debt review but are very hesitant to ever remove that listing. Even when Debt Counsellors send them the legally required notice they often times ignore the law and prove obstructive. Consumers find they are being discriminated against due to these listings (thus the court cases).