Debtfree South Africa's debt counselling magazine
South Africaâ€™s debt counselling magazine
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October 2012 . www.thedci.co.za
SUMMER 2012 http://www.thedci.co.za/debtfree.php
theDCI SUPPORTS THE REGULATOR The NCR have announced their intention to withdraw approval of the codes to combat over indebtedness and it’s recognition of the NDMA, DCASA, PDASA and the Credit Ombud in terms of the code. The NCR found the codes to be unconstitutional, conferring excessive jurisdiction on the Credit Ombud and determined that the codes have failed to achieve the purpose for which it was intended (amongst other findings). theDCI, welcomes the NCR’s findings and agrees that for millions of families personal debt is a bigger problem today than it was a few years ago. The NCR’s investigations have uncovered significance evidence of reckless lending by credit providers contrary to their commitment as enshrined in their code and in the Act. “Millions are swamped in debt,” says Deborah Solomon founder of theDCI. “But our courts are not swamped by lenders being charged with reckless lending. Yet officials air their concerns about possible lending ‘abuses’ and DCs have regularly raised concerns with the NCR. “The mismatch between sky-high debt and these codes speaks to the credit provider’s lack of enforcement of their code and the NCA. The
banks have refused to accept law such as the in duplum rule. Debt counsellors welcomed how the NCR has applied the law with vigour, as so not to create sham protection”. Solomon recently led a successful appeal to the NCR to force credit providers to respect the NCA by suspending their planned VDMS project. The code of conduct, how they came into existence as well as the relationships between all parties was also questioned in Solomon’s legal letters sent to the NCR. Solomon says worsening debt statistics are a warning that something is amiss and adds: “Currently about 6400 consumers a month seek debt counselling. Given that there are 9.3 million consumers with impaired credit records we should actually have about 100 000 consumers coming into debt counselling to service all the over-indebted people”. The conclusion is inescapable – the NCR must enforce and regulate the NCA when organisations deliberately breech the Act. Offenders need to be taken to task and action should be taken against them sooner rather than later. The NCR is the only regulator and everyone needs to respect this.
CONTENTS 05 Editors notes
Our Editor Zak King Speak his mind
All the latests events making headlines
13 Codes of misconduct?
NCR withdraw support for the industry codes
16 Fall out at DCASA
Dealing with the NCR decision
21 Living on Less
Our new lifestyle section
22 Need to not speed 2
10 years worth of reasons to slow down
10 years worth of reasons to slow down
28 Money or the Box 31 Questions & Answers
Administrators of the Debt Counselling Application Process
EDITOR’S NOTE Well, what looked to be a quiet month for the industry was quickly turned into an industry feeding frenzy of finger pointing and remonstrations. The big story of the moment is the NCR changing their mind about the industry codes of conduct regarding debt counselling. Admittedly this will not effect consumers immediately, and it remains to be seen how this withdrawal of approval for these codes will potentially change the way that creditors interact with Debt Counsellors. There are as many different opinions on the matter as there are Debt Counsellors. So a reasonable portion of this issue is set aside to discussing this matter and theDCIs role in things. For institutions like the NDMA and PDASA the announcement by the NCR is a real blow to their credibility and relevance in the industry. Some tough times are ahead for them. Speaking of tough times, with the end of the year being upon us, it means that consumers will need to display even more self control in the face of aggressive advertising by companies desperate to cash in on the end of the year shopping madness. Be strong, avoid becoming a victim of the “silly season”. In our living on less section we look at ways
that consumers can save funds and still have fun. Did you know you could lose your licence if you speed? We discuss the need to slow down out there this December. One of our team speaks about doing the popular Moonlight mass bicycle ride...maybe you too can join in at the end of this month? December and January are, generally speaking, slow months for Debt Counsellors. So many consumers look forward to getting a bonus at this time of year and they plan to solve all their problems with that small bit of extra cash. Sadly after the ‘end of year’ glamour wears off, many consumers awake to a harsh reality. They are worse off than the previous month. Fortunately for them, Debt Counsellors will be there to help steer them toward financial freedom and help them to become debt free.
NEWS FLASH For daily debt counselling news in 3 minutes or less visit www.debtfreedigi.co.za
LATEST CONSUMER CREDIT MARKET REPORT
NCR reviewed their standpoint on these codes after ever increasing pressure from Debt Counsellors, in particular, who feel that the According to the National Credit Regulator’s Codes set out a process of how to conduct (NCR’s) Credit Bureau Monitor for the second debt review other than that set out in the NCA. quarter of 2012, 9.22 million consumers have Recent pressure on the NCR has been exerted impaired credit records and 19.5% of all credit by theDCI, AllProDc and DCU. When research active consumers are now three or more was conducted only some members of DCASA months in arrears. There has been a 169.6% were found to be in support of the code of year-on-year increase in the number of short conduct for debt counsellors. The NCR have term unsecured credit agreements granted cited contravention of the NCA as their reason (for agreements of 6 months or less.) for changing their mind.
THE NCR WITHDRAW SUPPORT FOR DEBT COUNSELLING CODE OF CONDUCT
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has announced that as of mid December 2012 they will be withdrawing their support for the industry codes of conduct relating to debt review. This will include the codes of conduct for Debt Counsellors, Credit Providers and Payment Distribution Agencies. They have also stated that they now revoke their recognition of the National Debt mediation Association (NDMA), Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa (DCASA), Credit Ombud and Payment Distribution Agency representative body PDASA in term of these codes. This follows after research into the legality and conditions set out in these codes. The
NDMA SPEAK OUT AGAINST NCR INTENTION TO WITHDRAW SUPPORT
After the NCR announcement about withdrawing support for the NDMA the NDMA immediately began to talk to the press about their disappointment with the decision. Regarding the NCR’s announcement the NDMA CEO has been quoted as saying: “We obviously don’t agree with what they [the NCR] have put there.”... “I cannot explain to you how upsetting it is; there were so many agreements in place … the NDMA was playing a huge role getting banks to sign concessions... “ Also, in a strange twist she has referred back to the now long dead VDMS project: “After you remove the VDMS, what alternative solution has been proposed?”
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THEDCI SUPPORT REGULATORS DECISION
stand against the proposed code since they were first published”. Barkenhuisen says: ”For over a year our members have been saying The Debt Counselling Industry portal, theDCI they do not want to go contrary to the Act and say they welcome the NCR’s findings. Deborah sign these codes which were a thinly veiled Solomon a registered Debt Counsellor and attempt at circumventing important parts of founder of theDCI says “The mismatch the NCA”. between sky-high debt and these codes speaks to the credit provider’s lack of enforcement of their code and the NCA. The banks have BDCF APPLAUD NCR refused to accept law such as the in duplum ANNOUNCEMENT rule. Debt Counsellors welcomed how the NCR The Black Debt Counsellors Forum (BDCF) has applied the law with vigour, so as not to says it applauds the bold action taken by the create sham protection... The NCR is the only National Credit Regulator (NCR) in addressing regulator and everyone needs to respect this.” and taking steps to correct irregularities within the industry that have threatened the debt process. Octavia Hlatshwayo, the DCU SUPPORTS NCR DECISION counselling secretary of the BDCF says: “In light of these The DCU has said that the recent change of recent developments in the debt counselling stance by the NCR regarding the industry industry, the BDCF offers its....support to codes of conduct and recognition of DCASA the National Credit Regulator.” Hlatshwayo and the NMDA shows that the banks are not also says that recent public statements by infallible. Mr Scott Cundill has stated: “This the credit ombudsman, the NDMA and the is heart-warming news indeed ... We cannot Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa continue to operate in a society where a small (DCASA) stating that debt counselling is not handful are allowed to bully an entire industry. working are “irresponsible and unwarranted”. Our primary task right now is to restore the reputation of Debt Counsellors.”
DCASA - A LONE VOICE
NEC members of the Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa have expressed The Alliance of Professional Debt Counsellors concern with the NCR’s decision to withdraw (AllProDC) say that they praise the decision their support for the Debt Counsellors industry by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) to code of conduct. This is unsurprising in light withdraw it’s support for the so called Debt of DCASA’s central role in creating the code Counselling and Credit Provider Codes of of conduct. DCASA say they are concerned Conduct. Simon Barkenhuizen, elected that this could thrust the industry back into president of the AllProDC National Executive unclear waters and that progress made with Committee says: “We feel this is a great victory various credit providers might be lost. They for our members who have taken a strong
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by the DTI. The pending amendment bill which the DTI have been working on covers many aspects of the NCA, not just debt review. The DTI are said to be about to make the proposal to parliament early next year. The various spelling, wording and numbering mistakes in the ministers Bill might also be a problem. Read the Bill here: http://debtfreedigi.co.za/ proposed-amendment-to-the-nca/ Comment on the proposed amendment NDMA SAY THEY DID should be sent to: REPORT... KIND OF In response to the NCR’s statement that the firstname.lastname@example.org NDMA failed to report to them as per the email@example.com industry code of conduct for Credit Providers the NDMA have stated that they reported monthly and quarterly to the Debt Review Daily news items on Debtfree DIGI. The news Advisory Committee (DRAC), Joint Debt in 3 min or less. www.debtfreedigi.co.za Review Stakeholder Forum and all stakeholders through individual project reports and quarterly newsletters – all of which were brought to the attention of the NCR. The NDMA have said that they have always strived to consult with and seek the guidance of the NCR on various matters. The NCR seem NEXT PAGE 12 to say otherwise. feel that without the code of conduct for credit providers, the various creditors could stop cooperating with the debt review process. Not all DCASA members are in agreement with the NEC and several have called for the NEC to step down in the wake of the NCR’s withdrawal of recognition of DCASA.
MINISTER PROPOSES CHANGES TO NCA
MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini has submitted a very poorly drafted Bill to parliament to amend the National Credit Act. The proposals calls for 2 changes to the NCA. One change relates to what types of debt can be included in debt review and the second change is a recommendation that a clause be added which allows for the suspension of interest on accounts for up to 5 years. It seems unlikely that this Bill will be ratified in light of all the research done recently
LIVING ON LESS I QUIT MY GYM
Codes of misconduct? Back in 2009 a Task Team was put together to report to the NCR about Debt Review and problems and hold ups with the process. At that time after several months of research and meetings several suggestions were made to the NCR about how those hold ups could be over-come. At the time not every Debt Counsellor (DC) supported the suggestions made but the Task Team released a nice report of their suggestions and findings that many DCs and even Magistrates kept on hand. Over time many of the proposals, of that NCR Task Team, were implemented by Creditor Providers and DCs. With time and some promotion the task team report suggestions were perceived by some to be seen as industry â€œrulesâ€?. Of course that was not the case and only the NCA itself was the set of rules for the industry. However since the Task Team suggestions were beneficial to Credit Providers the Banking Association of South Africa ( BASA) decided to throw their weight behind these suggestions and with the help of the National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA) began to call these suggestions rules. They went so far as to then create a code of conduct for NDMA creditor members to subscribe to. Part of the Code helped establish the at the time almost defunct NDMA as a credit provider representative body within the debt review space. BASA and the NDMA at great cost developed a piece of software called DCRS which referred back to the Task Team suggestions. Many Debt Counsellors have had great success using DCRS
to make proposals to creditors who subscribe to the NDMA. While this has been less the case more recently due to technicalities and bad follow up by creditors the program is still very popular. At the same time the Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa ( DCASA ) proposed a code of conduct for Debt Counsellors. The NCR liked the Code of Conduct and told Debt Counsellors to sign it. This caused a great rift in the debt counselling fraternity. Some DCs were happy to sign however many others were not, since the code contained provisos like: a DC must belong to DCASA and would not accept applications from poorer consumers or those in a lot of financial trouble who could not make nice/neat proposals. The then newly formed group of concerned Debt Counsellors - who would eventually grow to become the Alliance of Professional Debt Counsellors ( AllProDC ) - took a firm stance against the code. They said they were only prepared to stick to the requirements of the NCA and were not prepared to go against the spirit (and letter) of the Act. This fact saw them somewhat sidelined by the NDMA and Debt Review Advisory Committee- DRAC (formed as a result of the Task Teams suggestion). Even the NCR hesitated to support them. The related matter of a DC fee structure was taken to the Competition Commission. The Commission came back and said they did not think Debt Counsellors should be forced to belong to one association and that that association should not be able to set the fee
structure for all Debt Counsellors. This then motivated the NCR to publish the previous DCASA proposed fee structure with a NCR letterhead and they NCR soon changed the wording of the proposed Code of Conduct for DCs to allow for membership to other associations other than DCASA. Once again Debt Counsellors complained that the proposed Code contravened the NCA. Then the NDMA went an extra step and tried to introduce a voluntary debt mediation ( called VDMS but basically non regulated debt review) program based on the Task Team findings and the DCRS computer program and the industry codes of conduct. At this time Deborah Solomon ( the founding member of the Debt Counselling Industry – a online resource and forum for consumers and DCs) became involved and through legal means demanded that the NCR relook at their stance on these matters. Over the previous months many of the past leadership of the NCR had been placed on special leave or come under investigation on a number of allegations ranging from fraud to corruption and more. Things at the regulators office had changed a lot. Finally during this time a new CEO had been appointed at the NCR and it seems that new leadership and changes within the NCR made it possible for them to take a stand and declare that they would investigate the NDMA’s proposed VDMS project. Under continued pressure from theDCI and various DCs around the country the NCR eventually pulled the plug on the VDMS project. They found it to be illegal in terms of the NCA. Strangely even after the announcement by the NCR about the matter the NDMA and DCASA NEC still continued to support the project. The
NCR was firm and told them to stop work on the pilot program. It seems though that this continued resistance to the NCR did not endear them to the regulator and so continued investigations into all things related to the old 2009 Task Team and NDMA continued behind the scenes. This brought the NCR to the industry codes of conduct. They called for comment from the industry including DCASA. DCASA came back with strong support from their polled members for the Task Team findings and the codes of conduct. Comments by DCs from other associations such as AllProDC and the new Debt Counsellors Union showed a very different picture however. Several points of conflict with the NCA were raised and the NCR listened. The NCR has now came out and announced that it is withdrawing it’s support for the Industry Codes of Conduct for Debt Counsellors, Payment Distribution Agencies and Credit Providers. They have specifically made mention of DCASA and the NDMA in their press release. This is a very public embarrassment for these associations and the role they have played in the implementation of the Codes. It does not seem that consumers will immediately be effected by the NCR’s withdrawal of support for these codes and it seems unlikely that progress made will be thrown out by all parties rather it is a case of back to the drawing board. The NCR have been receiving comments from various parties about their decision but it seems unlikely they will change their mind especially since the NDMA and some in DCASA have once again been going around denigrating their abilities and decisions as well as criticizing the NCA and the debt review process.
Fall out at DCASA or AllProDC. In an effort to get a better understanding of the views of members, Debtfree DIGI visited their open forum to see what the general feeling was after the announcement.
A recent announcement by the NCR retracting itâ€™s support for the industry code of conduct and their recognition of The Debt Counsellors Association of South Africa (DCASA) in this regard, has sparked a conflagration within the association. In the past, DCASA, which was the first Debt Counsellors association to be established in SA, was seen as the powerhouse in representing Debt Counsellors, now with this announcement, all that is at risk. On the subject of the code, members within the association have very divided opinions. These range from disappointment that the NCR has withdrawn support, to joy that they have done so. There are cries of support and those who are calling for the DCASA leaderships heads. Some comments are directly aimed at the current DCASA President in particular, rather than the NEC in general. Some members have simply decided to move on to other associations such as the DCU, BDCF
DCASA host a online forum which is open to the public where Debt Counsellors (both members and non-members) as well as creditors and consumers can discuss debt review. Please note the forum states: THIS FORUM IS OPEN TO ANYONE! We invite you to get involved and enjoy. DISCLAIMER: Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this forum are not necessarily those of DCASA. Here are some comments from the open DCASA web forum: To visit the forum and see all the comments head to: http://www.dcasa.co.za/forum/index. php Please note that only initials of online profile names are shown in this article Summing up the panic within the organisation on member asks: A: What will happen now? G: I am NOT surprised that the NCR took the position that they took on this matter, to the extent that they literally renounced their recognition of DCASA, NDMA, PDASA all-at-
once ! ! You can tell from a distance that they counselling... don’t really give a finger about DCASA, NDMA, etc. That’s a *blow* in the groin guys . . . that’s I just do not understand why you cannot seem to get the message... you are leading debt a major blow :( counsellors and the industry into demise STOP! At this point in time obviously the NCR is pissed G: The DCASA NEC need to get their heads off with NDMA, DCASA, PDASA, etc. out of the sand and face the facts. They have PS: The DCAC [maybe he means DCASA] failed their membership miserably and do not Chairman met with the NCR EXCO on deserve to be allowed to continue to lead and Friday morning and this was followed by an influence the industry in future. emergency DRAC meeting on Friday. A number of possible solutions were discussed with the One has only to read today’s ...to be embarrassed NCR and follow up discussions is scheduled at being a member of DCASA. This latest news article was preceded by the embarrassment of this week. DCASA speaking out in favor of VDMS, after the Members are requested to remain calm ...Call for NCR had announced that their investigations radical action by individuals is not appropriate. found VDMS to be contrary to the best interests ... A numbers of uninformed individuals used of consumers. The conflicts of interests persist this opportunity to spread incorrect and false within the DCASA NEC information. This is not a time to respond other than to say that those individuals have personal Regarding the code of conduct one member made this interesting comment that seems to agendas and are not representing the truth. get to the heart of the perceived problem: Gsm: The truth is that DCSA has so many agendas and promotional interests for G: I think the biggest blunder that DCASA yourselves. Paul. It is time to go, do the industry committed was when they started to prescribe a favour .... your own members are agaist your THE PROCESS of debt counselling in a document that was purporting to be a Code of vested interests. Conduct ! There is no need for your to run around and have emergency meetings with the NCR and I had NEVER seen a code of conduct that tells others. The industry will sort itself [out]... time- employees or its members the tactics of *HOW* and- again you have been advised to leave they should perform the CORE duties in their the stage. Get on with your business of debt daily jobs. Rather what I’ve commonly seen
is that a Code of Conduct would usually talk about how one should Dress, Communication with Clients, Courtesy and Respect to other employees, management and stakeholders, how one should carry oneself around and present oneself in order to reflect a *positive impression* of the company’s outlook ... NOT anything about the job tactics or processes to be followed when one is performing hardcore duties !
leap forward towards a more meaningful debt regulatory system. There were too many dissenters trying to erect their own little “kingdoms” parallel to the NCR, despite the fact that the NCR is the one and only regulator. There are certain to be other giant leaps after this notice is read by some of these dissenters, but those will be leaps of despair!
another stated: Gsm: You are right you cannot fix a law with codes or agreements outside of D: Now at least we know the NCR is not “dead” - for too long we were wondering whether the the LAW and REGULATIONS. NCR had any teeth! J: I am proud to be affiliated with DCASA... these processes have made Debt counselling a A: my faith in the NCR IS RESTORED.... indeed a rewarding program to use for both consumers victory and DC’s....and its now at a stage that it is Dn: This is a small step on the part of the actually workable! NCR in its reclaiming of its core function as Join whatever association you see fit and that Regulator... This ‘courage of conviction’ from works for you as a DC company or DC, but the Organisation needs our full support and don’t come here and start a petty slanderous commendation. campaign against DCASA or its members, and make out that everything was done is shady Opinions within DCASA remain divided while under the table deals.... other associations and Debt Counsellors seem G: I must say I am highly disappointed by happy with the NCR’s decision. What is quite DCASA ... As from this moment forward I no clear is that the NCR have really given DCASA longer consider myself a member of DCASA. I a very public slap in the face. Where once DCASA were the “golden child” of associations hereby resign forthwith. for Debt Counsellors, this status has taken a severe knock. It remains to see how DCASA will Within other online forums Debt Counsellors weather this storm. have expressed their opinions on the subject as well. Most seem in clear favour of the NCR’s To visit the forum and see all the comments decision. Here are some selected comments: head to: http://www.dcasa.co.za/forum/index. P: This one small step from the NCR is one giant php
LIVING ON LESS Times are tough and we all need to make our money stretch these days. As the cost of living increases it seems that, come the end of the month, there is always a little less cash left to enjoy life with. The Living on Less is a section of Debtfree DIGI which looks at ways wise consumers can keep their living expenses down and save funds. We also consider ways to still have some fun for less. Living on Less is about spotting a great deal and letting others know. Itâ€™s about changing our mind set to reflect the reality that times are tough and we need to get savvy. Sure times are tough but you can still have fun while Living on Less.
NEED 2 NOT SPEED 2 Why 90km and 140km can be the most costly speeds to travel at. If you are found to be going 30kms over the speed limit in a urban area (and 40kms over outside an urban area) you face the possibility of losing your license for a prolonged period. The first time you are caught you will be without your licence for 6 months but the second time For example a driver may enter an area where that will increase to 5 years and the third time the speed limit is reduced but is inattentive and 10 years. misses the posted signage in this regard. Say for instance: you are travelling at 90km an hour If you do face a court appearance for and the speed limit reduces down to 60km speeding and you feel there were extenuating per hour. If trapped at that point, going 30km circumstances at the time (like rushing to more than the speed limit, more is involved the emergency ward etc) then obtain legal than a simple fine. The traffic department will representation to assist you. It is likely the issue you with a notice and demand that you court will not find you guilty or may reduce the consequences accordingly. appear in Court. First off, it is never a good idea to exceed the speed limit, ever! You increase the amount of petrol you use, you put yourself and others at risk and itâ€™s against the law and yet it can happen so quickly without you even noticing.
The bad news is, once you then appear in court you will likely be found guilty and the offence will be captured as a criminal offence on your permanent record. It gets worse, because you exceeded the speed limit by 30kms you will have your licence suspended for 6 months. Oh, and you will be fined. This is in line with changes that were made to the National Road Traffic Act back in 2008.
So before you go out getting all fast and furious, ask yourself: What would the impact of losing your licence for 6 months or 5 years be? What impact would a criminal record have on your future employment opportunities. All in all it is just a good idea to slow down and stick to the speed limit.
MASSIVE Around the world commuters have grown tired of sitting in traffic burning fossil fuels and so people in major cities began to commute to work once a month en mass on bicycles. Normally the ride is held on the last Friday of each month. What originally started in ‘92 in one city, soon popped up world wide. What became known as “critical mass” quickly became more than a simple ride to work. It became a chance to leave home early, ride with friends and neighbours and socialize, in many cases over a cup of coffee half-way to work. Critical mass is now held in more than 300 cities worldwide. With critical mass being such a success, these fair weather riders (and the more serious crowd) began looking for other excuses to hit the streets on their bicycles and thus the concept of Moonlight mass was born. Moonlight mass is a night ride on the evening of the full moon. This provides a well lit and easily indentified evening for the event each month. Cities like JHB, Durban and Cape Town have come to the party and even provide traffic officers to help keep riders safe. With seemingly the best support so far, Cape Town has a new dedicated train from the Simons Town area where riders can bring their bicycles onboard and travel into the city (and home) for the ride.
One of the Debtfree DIGI team joined the moonlight mass ride and tells us of his experience. I remember the day I got to ride my bike without training wheels for the first time. My dad took me to a golf course in the town where we lived down the KZN south coast. I was buzzing with excitement and trepidation. Looking back I doubt that hill was as steep as it seemed at the time, and so with a helpful push my dad sent me tearing down that slope and set me free. I spent the rest of that summer glued to my bicycle. That was years ago and bicycling became less of a priority for me when I got my first motorbike. Nowadays I buzz around town on my scooter in summer and stick to the car in winter. So when our friends invited my wife and I to go on a night time ride through the city and join thousands of other Cape Townians for a bit of sweat and fun I was once again nervous and excited at the same time. First off it would be good to mention I had not been on a bicycle for about 10 years. Secondly with 3 months of bad flu at the beginning of the year, and a distinct lack of exercise since, I was not sure I would be able to handle it. However in the spirit of adventure my wife and I committed to join the ride if the weather was nice. My cunning plan of relying on the weather to keep my at home in front of my TV backfired, and so we headed off to my friends place
where he had 2 bicycles waiting for us. After adjusting this and that it was time to hit the streets. The sun had set and it was a beautiful moonlit evening without a breath of wind. You couldn’t ask for better conditions. After riding up and down the road a few times to see if my brain and legs remembered what to do, we rode up a hill (I know, a hill really! I was just trying to get back into the swing of things and already there was a hill). In retrospect I don’t think that hill was as steep as it seemed at the time. After a little bit of huffing and puffing we made it to the meeting point in my friends neighbourhood. Then along with 10 other happy and very chatty cyclists we made our way slowly into town. I must say that as we travelled and began to see more and more cyclists on the road and as our bunch of 10 became 15 then 20 then more and more all heading to the new stadium in Green Point I began to see the attraction of the event. Arriving at the pedestrian circle outside the stadium we were surrounded by what must have been thousands of riders. People came dressed up as clowns, wearing suits, Elvis costumes you name it. Most were dressed in casual clothes. No need for cycling gear. It was amazing to see how many different types of bicycles are out there. From fixies to electric. from fold-ups and easy riders to unicycles. You don’t even need to own a bicycle as several places will rent you one for the evening. There was a real hubbub of conversation as anticipation for the ride
grew. Bells started ringing and people began whooping and then at some unseen signal it was time to go. We joined in a stream of riders who rode over pavements, around hand railings and through the Mc Donald’s parking lot as we headed off. The pace was leisurely and the atmosphere congenial. Strangers chatted for a moment or two before differences in paces separated them. Despite the large number of riders we managed to stay with our group throughout the 10 km or so of the ride. We took a break at Greenmarket square for a warm cup of coffee and then after another chat it was time to head on home. I was surprised the next day when I was not sore and stiff. I think it was the slow and even pace of our ride that helped me avoid any aches and pains the following day. That was when I decided to become a moonlight mass regular. You can find out more about critical mass at http://www.criticalmass.co.za/ and moonlight mass at: http://moonlightmass. co.za/moonlightmass/About.html or by following them on twitter https://twitter. com/moonlightmass or @moonlightmass
SEQUESTRATION/BANKRUPTCY: Part 1 What you should know about surrendering your estate: Surrendering your estate in terms of Insolvency Law entails an application instituted in the High Court. This application may be applied for by the persons who are no longer able to pay their debts due to circumstances out of their control. This option is available to you if you are the registered owner of an immovable property – house, townhouse and vacant stand. If you have a steady income and no immovable property Debt Counselling would be your preferred debt relief option.
A surrender enables you to live a normal financial live (debt free) – where you are not plagued by arrear debts with high interest rates. You will have no more fears that the creditors will phone you day and night from “unknown” numbers and you can answer your calls fearlessly. The sheriff may no longer attach your property as you would now be protected by a High Court order.
A Curator will be appointed by the Master of the High Court to deal with all your assets and liabilities. Creditors may no longer garnish or attach your salary.
e:firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 011 025 5441
LIFE COVER This insurance policy for those in debt is the first and only scheme of its kind in South Africa. It is ONLY available to individuals under debt review. The group life structure ensures affordable rates. The product was developed by The Debt Counselling Industry in consultation with Tennant Life Benefits and is underwritten by Channel Life brought to you by the Sanlam Group. Those under debt review need cover like this for three reasons: 1.
In the event of death, it guards against the risk that loved ones will be left in financial distress should the debt be settled from the deceased’s estate. This cover clears debts that might otherwise be ‘inherited’ by the deceased’s loved ones. (This is a huge risk that faces any spouse married in community of property, and also for those married out of community of property but with an ante-nuptial contract with accrual).
2. It is the first insurance cover designed to cater for your needs – because we in The Debt Counselling Industry understand the risks you face. Many other plans do not pay out when a claim is lodged simply because you are in debt review. In contrast, this plan is specifically for individuals in debt review. We care and we acknowledge your unique circumstances. 3.
This cover addresses the issue of multiple credit risk provision. Many debtors are unaware of the added costs created by insurance charges across multiple agreements and how expensive these credit life plans can be. Costs increase as interest is added monthly on top of the principal debt amount.
Once you join The Debt Counselling Industry group life scheme, you can make sure these insurance charges are stripped out of the repayments by sending a simple notification to all your credit providers telling them of your new cover. This scheme
provides substantial credit life cover paid for by one premium at a highly competitive rate. Replacing multiple credit life provisions with The Debt Counselling Industry scheme can save you thousands of rands over the duration of these loans. You and your debt counsellor must ensure your mutually agreed monthly budget includes the group life premium. In the event of death, the scheme ensures debts with credit providers are cleared. Any money left over goes into your estate. It is easy for anyone under debt review to join the scheme as cover can be arranged by your debt counsellor, who can help you fill in the form. Your debt counsellor will be aware of your total indebtedness and can help you determine the extent of cover. This is fixed when cover is taken out. Minimum cover is R50 000 and maximum cover is the amount you owe creditors or R1 million. The proof-free limit (cover without
having to prove you are healthy) is R500 000. You cannot be refused the first R500 000 of cover irrespective of your health. Cover costs R1.62 per R1000 insured. Cover for total debts of R500 000 would therefore cost R845 a month. Cover runs for as long as you are under debt review. Premiums are paid by monthly debit. Repayments stop once you are debt-free. You may join from age 18 to 64. Cover terminates at age 65. The product does not include disability or retrenchment cover. Note, exclusions apply; for example, no benefit is payable should death occur due to: • • • •
Suicide or intentional self-inflicted injuries; War or riot; Substance abuse; Participation in hazardous activities or dangerous work (ask your debt counsellor to go through the full list of exclusions)
MONEY OR THE BOX and perhaps beneficial to the lay person. It is the king of the superbowl Casino in the cybersky. And like all gambles, whether it’s Money or the box or Rollette or the Stock Market, there are risks and losses. That is guaranteed and absolutely counted on. The main thing with securitisation and all other gambling institutions, is that you are the one who is burdened with the risk and loss and stand no chance of any benefit.
What is the difference between Securitisation and the all-time favourite ‘Money or the Box’? With Money or the Box you have a choice, albeit to choose the incorrect box, you have the choice none the less. With securitisation you don’t even know the box exists, and that it is a crappy box and has been chosen for you and not even on your behalf. It’s more like Deal or No Deal and you are the one who does not have the deal when the derivative market and bankers have all the deals and all the good boxes. In a nutshell, it’s a gamble. Securitisation is another glorified term to disguise its true identity. Making it sound important and ‘safe’
Anything that constitutes a loan can and most probably is securitised. Your credit card, Woolies and Edgars Cards, home loan, vehicle finance and even your personal loan that you took out to buy granny her new Kenwood Mixer for her 80th. You slog and work your whole life as a relatively good citizen, paying your taxes and your dues. You take out a loan or borrow something from someone and you make good on your promise to return or reimburse. You have no idea that when you go into any credit institution (Bank or any derivative thereof) that you are literally signing your life away and perhaps your childrens future for that new car or additions to your home or just your home.
Long gone are the days when you could sit down with a bank manager and negotiate anything from terms of interest and rates of payment.
is, if things were the way they used to be. (By the way, hard times are counted on and it is virtually bankable that you will default – that is a given…)
How much that has changed is indicative to how you will receive no grace from the telesales people now listening to the computers that run the banks. This is primarily because the secrecy behind how securtisation is run needs to be kept quiet and away from the public or those managing the banks at the lay level. Everything is on the balance of your not finding out and continuing like a good honest person to pay your monthly instalments without question. Even if the rates are tampered with or the interest fiddled to jump way over the moon.
So, you have a new home, with money you loaned from the bank. Money that was created once you asked to borrow it and credited to your account which was used to pay for your home. Where did the money come from and why is this so important anyway? This is where the Deals and No Deals with Money or the Boxes come in. Because you have been a good paying citizen and unwitting slave to the banks, you are rated as an A+ person. Good for you!
This means that you and all the other A+ rated You take out a home loan. A loan where the citizens requests for loans, will be put together money for it to be loaned to you did not exist in a nice little box. Don’t worry about your prior to your asking for it in the banks vaults. friends who got B’s or C’s, they have their own It is duly created at your request via your loan special boxes. And the deals start being made agreement, creating the ones and zeros on a now on these boxes. computer screen that is now the money for which you have dutifully signed away the next The bank SELLS your box with all the A+’s requests for loans and loan agreements to a 30 years of your life. casino that loves playing with money in boxes. That is still manageable if by some horrible fate These are any number of companies created you miss a couple of payments, that you will to play on the stock market with your pooled be shown mercy and allowed to renegotiate loans now called derivatives. The bank is paid new terms to assist you in hard times. That upfront and in full!!
What is so secure about this? By some orchestrated circumstance, securitisation has been made possible. What is nasty about the whole affair, is that for one you are not told about this. Two, you are burdened with the risk and loss of your asset and three, not told that once the bank sells off your loan the bank can no longer call you on it. The gambling company now owns it and is using the bank as their collecting agent. Very secure for them! You know how you take something precious and hide in a place so safe that you can’t find it anymore. That is how secure securitisation is. They have bundled and hidden your own individual loan so well in the pool of all the others that they and you can never find it again. You don’t get more secure than that. So what? This is what. You default on your loan for 2 months or shortfall in payments for 3 months to your bank. They institute legal action against you. Claiming you owe them money, and all the money, as per your agreement and not the R50 less a month you have been paying.
of counselling and magically pull cash out from your nether regions. The banks who don’t own your debt anymore and are not liable to and for it and can’t sue you for non-payment, keep harassing you, demanding payment or a quick sale and threats of court action. They do this to perpetuate the illusion of legitimate banking. The gambling company now starts to claim from its insurance. You lose your home to a quick sell, and still owe the bank half your bond because the banks didn’t push for the best price (and remember the bank was paid upfront in full for your loan from the gambling company prior to all this). The banks have your home and sell it for double your bond and the gambling company smiles easily because the insurance paid out and all is back to normal. How did you benefit from this?
You are the lucky recipient of the box the banks and their gambling compatriots chose for you. The one with no home, still have to pay shortfalls, sequestration perhaps and number The gambling company who has your loan in a one on the ITC hit list. big mixed up box is not too worried about this. Whilst they are running to the banks to cash Why? Because they are insured. in….THE MONEY!! You default, are not shown any mercy or real re-negotiation, are forced into a position to liquidate or sequestrate or go into some kind
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS What is a Credit Report and Why is it Important? a. Your question is simple, very important, and one that is often taken for granted. However, if you are just beginning to use credit or just recently immigrated to South Africa, the concept of a credit report may be entirely new to you. b. Credit reports include basic identifying information like your name, address, and place of employment. Misspellings of your name and previous addresses and employers may be listed on your credit report. Sometimes this is because of an error with the business who reported your information. Or, it could be a sign of identity theft. c. A credit report is simply a printed or electronic representation of your credit history. Your lenders report to the credit bureaus information about the credit relationships you have with them including the types of credit accounts you have, how much you currently owe on them, and your payment history for those accounts. d. The Bureaus also collects debt-related public records, specifically tax liens, bankruptcies and civil judgments. Tax liens represent unpaid taxes and are essentially debts you owe to the government. Civil judgments are debts you owe through the courts as a result of being sued. Defaults are loaded by lenders when your account is in arrears or going to be written off
for non-payment. e. There are legally defined permissible purposes for the use of credit reports, which include employment, insurance, licensing, and other business decisions. However, the most common use is for evaluating the risk of extending credit to you. When you apply for credit, the lender will request your credit history, which is compiled and provided in the form of a credit report. f. In essence, your credit report acts as your credit references. A positive credit history tells potential new lenders that you manage your finances well and will help you get the credit you want and need. A negative credit history tells lenders you have difficulty managing debt and may not repay them as agreed. g. Our NCA National Credit Act helps facilitate millions of transactions every year in a fair and non-prejudicial manner, the NCA is meant to protect the consumer. In most cases the role of your credit report is virtually invisible and results in positive outcomes. For example, during the holiday season many people take advantage of instant credit offers to receive discounts on their purchases. h. The automated application processes used by lenders utilize your credit report to assess lending risk and can issue an approval in a matter of minutes, helping you have a positive shopping experience while saving money, too. i. Credit reports help you, the consumer, obtain the services you need, while protecting the
companies who use the reports from risk of financial loss, fraud, or bad business decisions. Because credit references are such an important part of our lives, it is very important that you build a positive credit history and review how information about your credit relationships is being reported. The first step is to understand what a credit report is and how the process works. You’ve made a good start simply by writing to ask this question. What affects my Credit score and the Credit report? To make the most of your credit, you need to know exactly how your credit score is calculated. There are five components to your score and some carry more weight than others. Payment History – In The Past This Has Been The Largest Factor In Your Credit Score Prior to 2009, 35% of your credit score was based on your payment history. Paying on time can still mean the difference between average and exceptional credit, but now one slip up won’t hurt as much. If you have a history of paying on time across most of your accounts, but have an occasional mess up and pay late, this won’t affect your credit score as much as it used to. Since this category has such a big impact on your overall credit score, when you go through a foreclosure (or short sale) it is not just the foreclosure that impacts your credit, but also the months of late payments that precede the
foreclosure. Amount Borrowed Compared To Available Credit – Now A Bigger Factor In Your Credit Score The next major component, which historically has accounted for 30% of your credit score, is the amount of revolving debt you owe in relation to your available balances. It is calculated on an individual account basis and an overall basis. Although we don’t know the exact weighting of this factor, in 2009, your overall debt will play a bigger role in your credit score than it has in the past. It may now have a bigger effect on your credit score than your payment history. What can you do? Make sure you don’t borrow more than 50% of your available balance from any single lender, and ideally you want to borrow less than 33% of your available balances. This means contrary to popular belief, it is better to owe a smaller amount on several cards than to max one card to its limit. Length of Credit History - Raise Your Credit Score By Keeping Accounts Open Over 7 Years Your length of credit history comprises about 15% of your score. People with high credit scores typically hold at least three credit cards (with low balances) which they have had open for over seven years each. Rather than closing accounts it is best to work toward paying them off, and then let the accounts remain open with a small amount of activity that is paid off each month. Inquiries and New Debt - These Lower Your Credit Score
Inquiries and new debt account for about 10% of your score. The good news; if you are shopping for a house, all mortgage inquiries within thirty days of each other will be grouped as one inquiry. For autos, it is a fourteen day limit. Since 2009, inquiries for new debt will have less of an effect than they used to. Type of Debt - Installment Debt More Favorable To Your Credit Score Than Credit Card Debt The last 10% of your score is based on the type of credit; installment vs. revolving debt. Installment debt, such as an auto loan, is looked upon more favorably than revolving (credit card) debt. In addition, with the 2009 changes, you now get points for your ability to successfully manage multiple types of debt; a mortgage, auto loan and credit cards, for example.
qualify for the removal of the listing; however the credit grantor will be obliged to update the information on the credit bureaus that the consumer has paid the total amount outstanding. Should there have been circumstances beyond your control which lead to the default listing, the CO can investigate such. Please note that you must always follow the complaints process.
A judgment is a court order requested by your credit provider when you have not paid your debt. A legal process is followed before a judgment is issued. A summons is issued to the individual. The law stipulates that the summons does not necessarily have to be issued to the individual in person but can be issued to the individualâ€™s domicilium (where the individual lives or where the consumer has agreed that notices maybe served in the event of a breach of contract). The summons informs the individual of the court action and allows them to come forth to defend the action. Where an individual fails to appear the judgment is What is the difference between a Default and issued in default. The judgment is held on the system of credit bureaus for five years and is a Judgement? then automatically removed. Judgments are A default means you are in default of your public records, which means that anyone can obligations i.e. you have failed to make go and look at this information. The data is kept the payment as per your agreement. The on credit bureau system for 5 years and on the information is submitted by credit providers court records for 30 years. The information can to the credit bureaus. A default is held on be removed before the 5 year period when it is the system at credit bureaus for two years paid up and rescinded. It can also be removed and is then automatically removed. Paying a before the 5 year period if the consumer feels default account in full, does not automatically that the judgment was taken in error and
theDCI now offers all DC’s credit reports and deeds searches amongst other things. The pricelist can be found inside www.thedci.co.za. DC’s can email email@example.com for further info. lodges a complaint with the Credit Ombud to investigate. If the investigation reveals that the judgment was taken in error the Credit Ombud will request the credit provider to rescind and remove the listing from the consumer’s profile at no cost to the consumer. To have a judgment rescinded, the consumer must settle the debt first, request a letter from the credit provider stating that the debt has been settled in full and the credit provider has no objection to the consumer applying for the judgment to be rescinded. The consumer has to get a lawyer at their own expense to apply for the rescission of judgment at the relevant court. If the rescission application is successful, the magistrate will issue an order which the consumer can then present to the credit bureaus and request that the judgment listing be removed. 4. Why and when should consumers view their credit report? Just like a physical from the doctor reveals steps you should take to improve your health, a financial checkup helps you figure out how you can improve your finances. Checking your credit report is one way to decide what needs improvement. You know to get a physical checkup from the doctor at least once a year and a dental checkup twice a year, but just how often should you get a financial checkup? Now that we’re entitled to free annual credit reports, it’s a given that you should check your credit report once a year our recommendation
is twice a year. But, there are other triggers for checking your credit report. You’re preparing for a major credit-based purchase like a home, car or personal loan Your credit history is one of the primary factors used in loan approval. You’d be surprised at the credit report entries that could get your application denied. Even an unpaid R200 electrical bill from two years ago can keep you from your dream home. It’s a good idea to get a credit report six months prior to making a loan application to clear up any discrepancies. This includes applications for private student loans and other installment loans, too. If you are in distress and have required the services of a Debt Councilor you should be getting your credit report monthly to ensure all payments are being made and your road to financial recovery is proceeding as planned. A regular check of your credit report will also alert you to any suspicious activity or errors on your report. 5. What can you do when you want to dispute information on your credit report? Correcting Errors Under the NCA, both the credit bureau and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit bureau) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the credit bureau and the information
Consumers can go onto theDCI and click on the link to get a discount on credit reports with analytical info. Know your credit status http://www.thedci.co.za/consumers_misc.php
provider. Step One Report the error to the credit bureau via their call centre, and then in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures. Credit Bureaus must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit bureau, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide credit bureaus they can correct the information in your file. When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results
in a change. This free report does not count as your annual free report. If an item is changed or deleted, the credit reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The credit bureau also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider. If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the credit bureau, you can use the NCA and refer the matter to the Credit Ombud requesting intervention. About your File Your credit report may not reflect all your credit accounts. Although most national retail stores and all-purpose bank credit card accounts will be included in your report, not all creditors supply information to credit bureaus: some local retailers, micro lenders, travel, entertainment, and charge card companies are among the creditors that may not. When negative information in your report is accurate, only the passage of time can assure its removal. A credit bureau can report most accurate negative information for up to seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. Information about an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. There is no time limit on reporting: information about criminal convictions. There is a standard method for calculating the reporting period. Generally, the period runs from the date that the event took place.
RECKLESS LENDING & CPA UNLAWFUL CREDIT PRODUCTS in duplum /excess credit/ securitisation/ increase interests /non compliance with quotations Robyn Zimmerman, of Liddle and Associates, explains how Debt Counsellors can use their services to pursue a reckless lending matter: First off, it is important to note that these applications can be done on their own without a debt review. We suggest the DC charge the instalment of that particular loan and we will secure the second amount in trust for the disbursements thereon – exclusively so that volume is not a problem herein.
days attach these letters to your application together with proof of having requested it and we will subpoena the banks to provide the information once we issue the reckless lending documents.
We do not recommend a class action in this regard, rather that the matter is dealt with on a Do not log the client as under review with the case by case basis as the “floodgates” defence NCR but report it under cover of the prescribed argument could apply and thus endanger from alternatively. Be sure to watch the the entire process as the court may very well credit history as the credit provider may not - for the health of country and to protect the alter it in this period (notwithstanding the 2 countries banking institutions – rubber stamp month deductions). The loan must be paid in this process by stopping it from progressing in accordance with the review while we deal with a class action and merely imposing a large fine to be paid and issue a compliance notice. this at magistrate court level. Reckless Lending Reckless assessments must be done on each loan and if proven the suggestion is to automatically reduce the interest to zero. If the contract and or credit product is both unlawful and the assessment is bad then Securitisation The DC should try to find out who securitised make a recommendation as to the reduction the loans and provide evidence – the chief for capital. For all reckless lending please registrar of deeds holds these files as are the complete an attached contingency mandate, NCR supposed to hold custody of these details, so that the consumer is aware of the fees to fill in the forms referring and requesting the which we are entitled upon success - For the information, if you receive no reply in 10 recommendations and calculations herein Securitisation and incorrect assessments can result in the loan being written off, so the DC should do an investigation into these so that we can proceed on a case by case basis herein.
we do recompense the DC. This covers all the work and administration (as long as it does not exceed a total of 10% the fees received by us) in order to make this feasible for consumers and in terms of Cape law society regulations. We will be requesting the credit providers to reimburse interest and capital to us if such were overpaid.
recommendation in terms of the cascades for the repayment of the loan â€“ either reducing interest and/or capital. Further state that their failure to respond will be deemed as their acceptance of your proposal.
Send a second request for a response within 5 days, failing which at 12pm that day their When corresponding with creditors, configure acceptance will be deemed. your documents to state that you are dealing with reckless credit accounts and then proceed Finally send a Notice of Acceptance of the to negotiate as per normal. Some of your proposal and refer the matter to Liddle and notices will need to be adapted: Associates for the application to court.
Should your client get any calls from a credit provider herein, send a standard letter that Change the S17.1 Notice to read: Notice in terms of S83 to provide balances, they are represented and provide them with debatements, interest charges and disclosure our details, and report the matter to the NCR of all other charges on the account so that and the banking ombudsman immediately we may proceed with forensic reckless and furnish us with those complaints (with assessments and unlawful credit product proof of sending). assessments herein, your failure to respond with all our requirement as stated herein and Reckless Lending cases are being won across the the attached letter (attach reckless lending country. Many times the creditors themselves letter) will result in your banks directors see that something has gone wrong and are herein being issued subpoena to produce the happy to recompense the consumer without documents at court and you will be liable for the case even having to happen. This brings the costs of assessments, damages, delays, great relief to troubled consumers. Do not be postponements and preparation costs of afraid of launching a reckless credit application. Liddle and Associates are here to help. LIDDLE AND ASSOCIATES therein. Send the Demand letter as per usual with the obvious modifications.
Change the S17.2 Notice to read: Second Notice in terms of S83 of NCA read with S60 of CPA in terms of which- you state what you have found and make the attached
Ph: 021 913 2514 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
01168815 00 011375 5555
Pr eto ria
012 310 6300
01235821 11 080111 1556
031 361 0000
08013130 13 080131 3111
Po rt Elizabet h
04136078 11 041374 4434
East Lond on
04370592 00 043705 9234 (o/ h) 04370 59200 (a/ h)
Bloe mfont ein
05140 66666 (f)
051405 8400 tr affic 051407 3940 police
05140581 91 051409 2345
05140 76000 (a)
[ Service Directory TO ADVERTISE HERE A2Z HOUSEHOLD MAINTENANCE & PROJECT MANAGEMENT
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The NCR regulates the credit industry. Its primary function is to ensure that the National Credit Act is being upheld by all parties within the credit industry.
Published on Dec 9, 2012
The December 2012 issue of Debtfree DIGI theDCI Special Edition featuring special content just for theDCI. All the latest news about why the...