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The NCR Task Team

The National Credit Act can into effect in 2007. It introduced the new debt review and debt counselling process.

Since it was brand new, there were several challenges with getting debt review to works smoothly and many credit providers were soon struggling to comply with the Act.

This was partially because some parts of the Act were a bit vague and no specific processes were outlined. Also, difference credit providers and Debt Counsellors had different internal policies and sometimes these clashed with how others were doing things.

‘By 2009 things were really jammed up at the courts’

By 2009 things were really jammed up at the courts and there were lots of consumers who started to complain the process was not working for them. Many began to stop making debt review payments. This frustrated credit providers who had gone to a lot of effort to set up debt review departments internally and were making nice concessions to help troubled consumers.

At the time (2009) about 7500 people a month were applying for debt review and there were over 1700 Debt Counsellors. Back then there were 180 000 people under debt review.

The Task Team’s Purpose

The purpose of the Task Team was to try identify all the different challenges and blockages in the debt review process that were slowing things down and try make suggestions on how these could be dealt with.

This is similar to the role of the Credit Industry Forum (CIF) which the NCR currently chairs on an ongoing basis.

There were a lot of different challenges so the Task Team had to try narrow it down to the most common and most problematic items.

Who Was On The Task Team?

The NCR Task Team was made up by a mix of industry experts, academics, and independent consultants as well as regularly consulting with the NCR itself.

As far as we can tell, the members of the 2009 NCR Task Team were:

Advocate Neville Melville (Chairperson, former Banking Ombudsman)

Peter Setou (VAF, NCR)

Paul Slot (Debt Counsellor, Octogen)

Johan de Ridder (African Bank)

Rob Easton-Berry (Easton-Berry, later Consumer Friend)

The Task Team was also assisted by:

Gabriel Davel (NCR CEO 2006-2010)

Marlene Heymans (NCR)

Mareesa Kreuser (University of Pretoria Law Clinic)

Sue Hatton (independent consultant)

Members of the Task Team were “selected on the strength of their knowledge of and experience in different aspects of the credit industry and debt counselling, and do not represent the interests of any particular institution.”

NCR Task Team Report & Guideline Timeline

The Task Team began its work in October 2009 and the final report came out in 2010.

This was an impressive turn around based on all the ground which had to be covered.

The report was later reviewed in October 2013 (by the Credit Industry Forum known as CIF) and the results of that review were published by the NCR as a Circular in January 2015.

They were suggested for all to follow but the circular said in part: ‘TTA are voluntary non statutory measures’…‘the NCR is pleased to announce that the TTA has been signed off and are issued as guidelines”….’amendments to the NCA, its regulations or case law supersede provisions made in these guidelines’…

All parties were requested to stick to the task team report and the guideline. The NCR tried to very, very strongly encourage everyone to use the suggestions made while acknowledging them as voluntary. They even asked that if people did not stick to the Task Team report findings and guideline that they be told.

Interestingly, many large credit providers (like the banks) even signed a document agreeing to stick to the suggestions as if they were obligatory. Though Debt Counsellors didn’t sign the document, most found that using the suggestions helped speed things along for consumers.

Love It Or Hate It The Report Had An Impact

Some people feel it is wrong for the industry to be forced to stick to non binding guidelines issued by the NCR.

They feel that the Act should be allowed to dictate all actions relating to debt review and that there are sections of the guideline that ignore important legal rights consumers have.

While most parties in the industry do stick to most of the NCR Team Report and subsequent Guideline, there are many parts that most people still mostly ignore (EG. requirements around reckless lending investigations).

Still, the NCR Task Team Report about debt counselling and debt review was instrumental in getting the process moving faster and smoother in 2010. As a result of many of the changes that the industry adopted due to the report and later guideline in 2015 many more consumers began to enter the process and were able to get help through the process.

At present it is said the number is around 12 000 people entering debt review each month with 1600 Debt Counsellors registered with the NCR helping them and over 200 000 people currently in debt review.

Though the issues raised back in 2009 have thankfully mostly all disappeared over the years, the guideline is an important part of the industry’s history.

You can download the NCR Circulr 2 of 2015 about the NCR Task Team Guidelines here: 

Circular 2 of 2015 (NCR GUIDELINE) Debt Review Task Team Agreements