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The Latest Debtfree DIGI

Thursday, December 24, 2009

DCs cancelling Debit orders - new guidelines

Please be aware that many banks are now calling for more than a form 17.1 for the purpose of authorising a debt counsellor to cancel a debit order/s on behalf of a client.

Any request by a DC to cancel debit orders on behalf of a customer should be accompanied by a power of attorney from the customer prior to them actually cancelling the customer’s debit order/s.

If you are a client of a Debt Counsellor please insure that you have signed one of these Limited Power of Attorney forms

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NCR task team tackles mounting debt review challenges

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) announced in Midrand on 07 December 2009 that it has set up a task team to provide solutions to the bottlenecks in the debt review process. According to the regulator’s statistics, the number of consumers who have applied for debt counselling has risen to 130 000. On average 9000 new consumers apply for debt counselling per month. This is likely to increase in the coming months. It is urgent that an interim solution be found whilst we await changes to the legislation.

“While it was to be expected that there would be teething problems in implementing the two and a half year old National Credit Act (NCA), the only one of its kind worldwide, we decided we needed to act decisively to bring the situation under control,” said Gabriel Davel, the CEO of the NCR.

The Task Team on Debt Counselling will initially focus on “quick wins” and is anticipated to have a life span of about six months. It is comprised of individuals selected for their experience and knowledge in the field. The Task Team is chaired by Advocate Neville Melville, whose experience as former Banking Ombudsman and dispute resolution expert is seen by the NCR as critical in mediating between the different parties.

Gabriel Davel, CEO of the NCR, believes that Advocate Melville has both the reputation and experience that would be critical in mediating between the various parties, and in ensuring that the interventions proposed are defendable.

The Task team comprises of Peter Setou; Paul Slot; Johan de Ridder and Rob Easton-Berry.

The team is assisted by Marlene Heymans (NCR) and Marissa Erasmus of the University of Pretoria Law Clinic.

Advocate Melville welcomed the spirit of commitment displayed by members of the Task Team and their determination to resolve the problem. He is hopeful that the team will be able to bring about a significant improvement in the backlogs that are impacting negatively on both consumers and creating increasing risk to credit providers, and the banking industry in particular. He concluded that every effort will be made to engage with all the relevant stakeholders in the course of finding solutions.

The the Task Team will try to :

o Identify the primary causes for the current backlogs and delays in finalising debt restructuring, as envisaged by the relevant sections of the National Credit Act;

o Propose common standards and procedures which would facilitate the processing and finalisation of applications for debt counselling;

o Establish mechanisms through which credit providers, debt counsellors and payment distribution agents can engage on operational and procedural problems in relation to the implementation of debt restructuring proposals;

o Establish mechanisms through which disputes in relation to specific cases can be resolved;

o Provide regular information through circulars or similar mechanisms to credit providers and debt counsellors on any standard procedures or documentation; and

o Assist and advise the NCR with the objective of implementing an effective debt counselling process, as intended by the National Credit Act.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Standard Bank Debt Review Dept. Expexct Delays

Standard Bank are currently in the process of migrating to a new debt review system.
Hopefully one that is more intergrated with their other systems.

The migration period will take approximately two weeks and during this time their turnaround times will undoubtably be affected, particularly with regard to certificates of balances (CoB's) and rearrangement proposals.

They have asked for our understanding.

Please keep this in mind when sending through 17.1 and 2's and proposals.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NCR/University of Pretoria research investigates blockages hindering effective debt counselling processes

Debt counselling was introduced in South Africa (SA) through the National Credit Act (NCA) in 2007. As a groundbreaking first for the SA credit industry, it enables over‐indebted consumers, through the assistance of debt counsellors, to renegotiate their repayment obligations, with approval from the Magistrates Courts.

Peter Setou, National Credit Regulator’s (NCR) Senior Manager: Education and Strategy, says the debt counselling process has disappointingly been obstructed by uncertainty and inconsistencies in procedures among the various parties participating in the process, and on interpretation of some of the key sections of the NCA and its Regulations.“There are too many instances of debt restructuring not being successfully achieved.Applications for restructuring are not being smoothly and quickly processed and finalised by the courts. And obstructed debt review process can have severe consequences for the consumer (in the form of house or vehicle repossessions), for the lenders themselves, and for the broader SA credit industry.”
Setou says that the NCR commissioned a research project, conducted by the University of Pretoria Law Clinic, to highlight shortcomings in the debt restructuring process and applicable law, and identify the parties responsible for delays or preventing the finalisation of the process. The study would then make proposals to improve the debt review process and identify where the NCA and its Regulations require amendment.

In examining the practices of credit providers/lenders, the study considers the level of their cooperation with debt counsellors, and the extent and degree to which they are reneging on agreements reached. It also looks at several areas where there is non‐compliance with the NCA.
For example, some take too long to issue a certificate of outstanding balance (COB) of debt – the requirement for this is five days, with the research study average shown to be at around ten days, although this has come down from a very lengthy 20 days. Some are not even responding to certificate of balance requests or some of these certificates contained incorrect and incomplete information.

In general the COB’s are getting closer to the 10 days period, however, are still outside the 5 days requirement period. Some credit providers failed to furnish copies of credit agreements when requested by the debt counsellor or consumer.

Many credit providers are not responding to debt restructuring proposals, others take too long to respond, and some even respond negatively by offering ridiculous offers for consumers’ debts. Many of their objections to restructuring proposals are based on legal technicalities relating to court geographic or monetary jurisdiction. In general, they are exploiting certain shortcomings in the NCA to obstruct the debt review process.

These types of undesirable practices have meant debt counsellors have been compelled to refer debt review matters to court without sending restructuring proposals for consideration and approval to credit providers.

Credit providers are also engaging in other unacceptable practices such as inappropriate set‐off of consumer assets against specific debts, and failing to stop debit orders when requested. They also continue to enforce repayment of debts while the consumer is formally under debt counselling, they sometimes terminate a debt review process that has already commenced, or take legal action against a consumer after a debt restructuring application has been lodged in the courts. The various product lines and divisions within a single credit provider do not communicate with each other, giving rise to inconsistencies.
Several other problems relating to credit providers were examined – incorrect or inappropriate interest rate reductions being used in their restructuring counter proposals; incorrect or unavailable documentary proof and affidavits; and obstructively excluding vehicle financing agreements from restructuring proposals, by claiming these are rental rather than finance agreements.

The debt counsellors themselves were also at fault in some instances.
For example, the NCA requirement is that a debt counsellor must make a determination as to ver‐indebtednesswithin 60 business days of receipt of the consumer’s application for debt eview. Several were found to be well outside this time limit, with the majority citing non o‐operation of credit providers as the reason. Several cases of lack of education, experience and competence by debt counsellors were identified, leading to ill‐informed debt restructuring proposals for consumers. There were cases of unacceptable proposals, and even no proposals, being sent to credit providers.

The study has made several recommendations with regard to practices and procedures which should improve the debt counselling process:

• Improved training of debt counsellors and credit provider staff;

• Improved communication between debt counsellors and credit providers;

• The formulas/software used by debt counsellors in evaluating indebtedness and the format of their restructuring proposals need to be standardised;

• The establishment of a special Ombuds office catering for debt review related matters, in order to streamline complaints and offer specialised dispute resolution. (The NCR is presently responsible for all complaints lodged against credit providers and debt counsellors.)

Several legislative and regulatory amendments to the NCA and its Regulations were also proposed, relating to:

• The education, experience and competency requirements for debt counsellors;

• The Certificate of Balance request should be standardised and included in NCA Regulations;

• The powers of the courts in cases where consumers are determined to be overindebted;

• An improved Form 16 (the form completed by the consumer at time of debt review application), which will assist debt counsellors to obtain sufficient and more detailed information;

• The burden and recovery of debt counselling costs, with credit providers also possibly bearing some of these;

• Several other recommendations on court processes, referrals to court when consensus on restructuring cannot be met, declarations of reckless credit and the consequential discharge of a consumer’s debt, the correct process when one of the parties withdraws from the debt review process, and cases when the consumer himself applies to court for relief from disabilities resulting from debtrearrangement.
Setou concludes that this research makes an invaluable contribution in resolving the current challenges experienced in the debt counselling process. “Debt review is an extremely effective debt relief measure and the NCR is committed to ensuring its optimal operation.”

Provided by

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doing Job interviews online

So what should you do if you're asked to interview by Skype — or even brave enough to suggest it yourself?
Here is some advice from the experts:

First off, realize that we perceive people differently through a camera than we do in person. Bill McGowan, a former news anchor who now trains people to go on TV, starts his list of pointers with lighting: whether you're sitting in your kitchen or an office borrowed from a friend, make sure there's no bright light (like from a window) behind you. That will only darken your face. When your interviewer is talking, it's fine to look at his image on the screen, but when you answer, look at the camera. That's how to make "eye contact." Avoid wearing patterns and the color white, since we notice white spots on a screen first — you want your interviewer drawn to your teeth and eyes, not to your shirt. And don't forget that what's behind you is visible too. "It's best to put away the Mad Men bar," says McGowan.

Next, think about framing. Sitting flush with a plain white wall will make you look like you're in a police lineup, so angle your knees to the corner of your computer screen, and then turn your head slightly back to look at the camera. Sit tall in your chair, but not too close to the camera: the first three buttons of your shirt should be visible, or else you risk looking like a floating head, counsels Priscilla Shanks, a coach for broadcast journalists and public speakers. Most important, do a dry run with a friend to check your color, sound and facial expressions — neutral often comes off as glum onscreen. (See pictures of vintage computers.)

After all that, don't forget that this is still a job interview. Even though you're not meeting face to face, dress as though you are. When you "walk in," have your résumé ready — this time, as an e-mail attachment. And don't forget to do all the standard prep work. Are you ready to talk about your greatest weakness? "This adds another layer, but people will still expect you to be prepared to have a conversation with them," says career counselor Judith Gerberg.

Though that's not to say you can't acknowledge the medium. This past summer, Deanna Reed, principal of the Marie Murphy School in suburban Chicago, started doing Skype interviews and has already considered candidates from as far away as Asia. "The time difference was so great, it was like 1 in the morning for him," she says about a teacher in Japan. "I said, 'Oh, you had to get on your suit in the middle of the night?' And he said, 'No, I have my pajamas on the bottom.' He was fun — he had a real sense of humor." Even over video, it's possible to make a great first impression.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Making use of the banks "quicksell" facility

If you are in trouble the banks have recently been offering clients the opportunity to have them help you move the property through their Quicksell facility. It's not a auction and there is a bit more control in this process.

For an Example : FNB have quicksell facility and a website called They say the quicksell option offers advantages to both the distressed seller and the buyer. Often people try to sell their homes via an estate agent when they realise they can't keep up the payments, but have been unable to get offers high enough to repay their outstanding mortgages (remember this is not about making a huge profit rather about cutting ones losses).
As part of the quicksell deal, FNB discounts the seller's residual debt and saves on commission which would normally go to the estate agent. Buyers get a 50% discount on transfer costs and registration fees- these are good things.

It is important to note that should there be a shortfall the client would still be liable for this (you have to sign for it). However, as mentioned, the shortfall amount may be reduced(discounted) by the bank. Some have had the shortfall reduced by as much as R100 000.

Here are some of FNB's stated benefits:
  • An attractive discount, of minimum of R30, 000 or 10% of current outstanding loan balance (which ever is greater), will be applied.
  • Any shortfall is repayable at the prime lending rate.
  • You stay in control of the sale of the property, meaning a minimum reserve price will be agreed upon upfront.
  • The estate agent's commission will be covered by FNB Home Loans which is part of the discount offering.
  • FNB offers buyers up to 100% bonds on all Quick Sell Properties.
  • Buyers receive a 50% discount on both transfer costs and registration fees

This should be considered as an option for those who are really struggling to sell there property and who need to reduce their debt. After all the debt repayments on R50 000 outstanding maybe much more manageable than repayments on R900 000 each month... even after paying rent somewhere.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spice up your CV- advice from Gerard le Roux

Why not go have a look and see if your CV needs a little spicing up.(Editor)

2 CV Examples and My Analysis to Help You

Can your CV really have 'bash-down-door' power? You may think not. And that may be because:
You just don't know how to put "you" on paper in a way that creates impact; or
You may feel you're just average, there's nothing really special about you.

Do you mind me telling you you're wrong on count no. 2. Unless you're a real 'dingbat' you really do have something special to offer. This is a topic for another day however.

Regarding putting the best of you down on paper, in a CV, however, I've provided a lot of good info up at And of special note, I've put 2 sample CVs up there for you do see and download. They also contain my inserted analysis of how I've written them and why I've done them the way I have.

WARNING! before you go there. Every CV is unique. No 2 CV's are ever the same (well, in my mind and practice anyhow) so the CV's you'll see were tailored to be just right for their owners (not for you!).
But nonetheless there's lots for you to learn from the samples and from my analysis.

You'll find them here:

You'll also find more CV writing ideas at - this is where I post any new ideas I have about how to make your CV really stand out. These are ideas that you won't read anywhere else.
Join me on Facebook.


Gerard le Roux
CV Writer and Job Hunting Coach
083 744 5454 [The Job Search Clinic] [CV Writing]

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What happens if i just don't pay...ever?

So what if you just don't pay?
Well if you are unable or unwilling to pay your debt and you just ignore it then it is very likely that your creditors will eventually take judgment against you (first there will be a summons).

Ok, so what happens then?
There are several things that can happen:

1) They can attach your assets
2) They can demand a portion of your monthly salary
3) You will be listed on the credit bureau (in a very bad way)

And just so you know the judgment stays in place for 30 years.
This means that your creditor has 30 years to collect what you owe.

So the truth is you will pay ...eventually.

It is always much better to make a plan with your creditors to pay them back over time or to approach a Debt Counsellor (or other qualified individual) to assist you to make such a plan.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Debt free DIGI

Have you signed up for the next issue of Debt free DIGI?
Digi is a electronic version of the Debt free magazine
(condensed for email)

Send a Mail to: and we will send you the next DIGI.

Std and ABSA make big claims

Supposedly two of South Africa's biggest banks Standard Bank and Absa are letting the public know that they have relaxed lending criteria for consumers as well as companies.

When consumers begin to feel this "change" has as yet to be determined.

No reduction in Interest rates Sept 09

The decision not to reduce the Repo Rate is actually a "show of confidence" in the slow turning of the markets (in a positive manner). It is also "a deterrent to keep people from over reacting and further indebting themselves" says Rod de Witt a debt counsellor from Cape Town.

With the rate being as low as it has gone at any time during the last 10 years (the central bank has already cut the repo rate down to 7.0 percent to help revive the ailing economy) it was no big suprise when the announcement was made that there would be no change in the present rate.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Waste not, Want not

Banking charges can be a "hidden" cost that is slowly draining your coffers each month.Very few people ever take these costs into account when doing a monthly budget.

Take the time to compare different rates at different banks as well as the various banking options that exist and best suit you.

try the following sites for some comparitive bank shopping:

Remember that saving even R7 a week can mean R28 a month which means R336.00 a year.
What if you saved R70 a week?

Simple changes in your banking habits can save you a bundle. Whats more, remember to include your banking fees in your monthly budget to keep a more realistic eye on your financial position.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who is Gill Marcus ?

President Zuma has appointed Absa Group's chairwoman Gill Marcus to take over from Tito Mboweni as governor of the SA Reserve Bank from the 9th of November 2009.

You may not recall who Gill Marcus is however she has held a number of executive positions in the private sector. She served as deputy finance minister from 96 to 99, and was deputy governor of the country's central bank from 99 to 2004.

Mboweni, whose contract ends on 8 August has said that he did not "want" to stay on longer. Stressful jobs will do that to you. Pres. Zuma has said the Mr Mboweni wishes to pursue "other interests".

It sounds all very civil, however there is an undercurret of "politics at play". While Zuma had only good words regarding Tito, it is no secret that the governor has been unpopular with key Zuma supporters, including trade unions and communists. These parties argue that Mboweni has focused too narrowly on inflation targeting at the expense of economic growth and employment. This combined with the last minute nature of the anouncement (Under President Mandela, markets were given a year's notice that then-governor Chris Stals would be replaced by Mboweni) makes people wonder.

However Tito has said of Marcus that: "It's a very good choice, she will do a very good job".

We all hope so.

From relative obscurity Gill Marcus has been thrust into our collective awareness and her voice will soon herald good or bad news for the interest rate watching consumer.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Which Money Personality Do You Identify With?

For most of us, money and our feelings toward it are dynamic
and intense. Some of us love money, others hate it. Some fear
it, others worship it. Whatever our emotions are towards
money, we certainly never ignore it. Which brings us to the
lead story in this month’s Chronicle produced by Crue Consulting.

Visit their site on:

A psychologist who specializes in money related matters, Dr.
Kathleen Gurney (CEO of US-based Financial Psychology
Corporation) confronts these emotions in her practice on a daily
basis. She has worked with hundreds of men and women from
all kinds of backgrounds and income levels, and has learnt that
not only do we have a physical self, an emotional self and a
social self, but we have a financial ormoney self. This money
self is an integral part of our behavioral repertoire. However,
most of us fail to realize the extent to which it affects our
financial habits and the degree of satisfaction we get from the
money we have.

Dr Gurney believes that each of us falls into one of nine
money personalities. Each type has its own strengths and
weaknesses. By understanding the strengths and
weaknesses of your type, you can optimize your financial
planning to a style that fits you. Do you see yourself in any
one of these?

The most male -dominated profile, driven by a passion
for excellence and commitment, which helps them
achieve their goals. Despite being the highest income
earners, they are workaholics who are not motivated by
money alone (it is used as a scorecard to measure their
achievements). They enjoy the power and prestige
money brings. They are proud and reward themselves
with the best cars, homes, wines, etc. Investing in the
stock market is their favored strategy.

High Rollers
Money presents infinite possibilities. They are thrill seekers who
enjoy the ride of financial risk but are only mildly interested in
where it takes them. They seek power. Money brings them instant
power and recognition. They are creative, extroverted, competitive.
They work hard and play hard; for them, money is an emotional
release. They prefer to risk their assets rather than sit back bored by
financial security. If they do not learn how to manage their styles,
they end up with low pride and contentment.

Usually highly educated, with a live-for-today financial style.
They are often women and average- to above-average income
earners who make purchasing decisions with their hearts, not
with their heads. They use impulsive spending as a way they
reward themselves. They have a strong work ethic, like the
Entrepreneurs, but lack the Entrepreneurs’ confidence. They
attribute success to luck rather than ability and judgment. Once
they understand their traits, they canmake dramatic financial

These are the second-highest income earners, usually college
graduates and mostly married. They feel work, diligence and
effort will pay off better than anything else. They are proud of
their accomplishments, but tend to distrust others’ honesty with
money. They are conservative and not interested in risking
assets they have worked hard to accumulate. Protection is a
primary consideration. Being take-charge types, they have a
strong need to control their money.

Money Masters
They balance their finances with the degree of
contentment and security they derive from their money.
They are the No. 1 wealth accumulators even though
they don’t necessarily earn the most. They rank first in
degree of desired involvement with their money and
enjoy participation. They trust the recommendations of
others and act on sound advice. Pure luck has little
chance here. Success through determination is their

They are so afraid of making a mistake that they often avoid
making a decision. They forever try harder, but lack self-esteem,
especially about theirmoney. They have the least pride in
handling financial matters. They have tunnel vision, consider
every angle and find fault with the potential of practically any
risk venture. Finding suitable investments is difficult for them.

These are the people to whom money has brought
peace of mind. They have the fewest anxieties and
tend to be proud and content. They are the least
reflective, and theirmoney decisions are somewhat
impulsive but not risk-oriented. Often in or near
retirement, they are more interested in enjoying their money
than making it grow. They are not highly involved with their
money, taxes or investments, which could cause them stress
and impinge on their enjoyment.

Safety Players
They score the lowest in self determination. They are average
earners, and most of their money goes into safe and secure
investments. They lack the confidence and motivation to reap
more growth by taking more calculated risk (even though well
educated). They take the path of least resistance, feel they are
doing just fine, and repeat whatever investment strategies
seemed to work for them before.

According to Dr Gurney, most people will identify closely with one
of the nine money personalities. It is important to remember that
your “money personality” or style is like a balance sheet - with
some traits serving as assets and some as liabilities. As humans,
we make the best use of our money when we are aware of how to
constructively use our personal assets and work with our style.

So Debt or not which one are you?

Friday, June 26, 2009

No Drop

Well the hoped for .5 point drop in the Repo rate did not materialise.

Consumers are disappointed. (not just at Bafana Bafana getting so very close to a draw/shoot out) However Tito says that though times are tough they foresee an improvement in the local economy at the end of this year(presumably to do with the up coming Soccer World Cup)

However consumers are having to deal with other factors that are impacting on the cost of living such as the interim 30% hike in cost of electricity.

Well lets hope we can ride this rough patch out and make it to 2010.

Lets see what happens to cost of living then when all the local businesses get Dollar and Euro hungry.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drop in Repo Rate May 09

The Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut the repo rate by 100 basis points down to 7,5% this week.

In response all four major South African retail banking groups - Standard Bank, First National Bank, Nedbank and ABSA announced that they would be reducing prime and home loan rates by 100 basis points from 12% to 11% with effect from Friday.

Good news for consumers in debt.

Problems in debt counselling paradise

Reports are coming in that some major banks are deliberately obstructing the debt review process. This is according to various web sources as well as comments made by the National Credit Regulator during May.

"This could affect up to 1.8 million consumers", said Gabriel Davel
(the regulator's chief executive). He said the banks were "not sticking to their end of the deal".

"We are well into the credit crisis with an Act that it is not being implemented because of obstruction ... the four mainstream banks signed a code ... but these banks now refuse to abide by the rules," said Davel.

What exactly he has in mind we are unsure but it seems as if the NCR are aware of the problem and are pursuing these major banks to rectify the situation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cut, Cut, Cut

Well, the recent economic "down turn" seems likely to bring further rate cuts.

As Tito and "the boys" (the the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee ) sit down this week to look at a possible one base point reduction in the rate consumers hold their collective breathe.The central bank has basically doubled the frequency of its normal meetings since March and will now meet every month this year (except for July) to better respond to shifting global economic developments.

Financial market turmoil and recession in the USA and Europe have knocked the SA economy, hitting exporters and the vehicle industry as well as the manufacturing sector, which has experienced a serious decline.
Manufacturing output fell 15% year-on-year in February and Mining production fell by 12.8% in Feb. Mining is of course a huge factor in the SA economy.

Analysts are now predicting we could even see the repo at 7.5% by year-end.

The central bank's monetary policy committee meet today and tomorrow and central bank Governor Tito Mboweni will announce its rate decision around 15:00 next Thursday.
Cut,Cut,Cut...that's a wrap.

Monday, April 20, 2009

NCR Crack Down on naughty lenders

In a bid to stem the abuse of consumers by lenders and ensure compliance with the National Credit Act (NCA), the National Credit Regulator (NCR) has conducted ten joint onsite investigations (raids) with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the North West Consumer Affairs offices in Rustenburg which led to the arrest of three lenders who contravened the National Credit Act.
Specifically, the three lenders were arrested for obtaining and withholding consumers’ bank cards, ID books and pin numbers. This practice is a criminal offence in terms of the Act.
According to Jan Augustyn, Manager for Investigations & Prosecution at the NCR, the SAPS/Prosecutors will follow their own procedures with the arrested lenders and the NCR will consider its own enforcement actions against these lenders, which may include taking the matter to the National Consumer Tribunal.
The NCR is awaiting reports from its investigators which may also indicate other contraventions.
Two registered credit providers have in recent months been closed down by the Tribunal for retaining bank cards and pin’s.
“There will be more of these investigations in different places going forward to ensure that we root out this kind of behaviour by lenders,” said Augustyn.
Augustyn stressed the point that consumers must not leave their personal documents such as their ID’s, bank cards, pin numbers with credit providers because it is against the provisions of the National Credit Act.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Times are tough

Recent figures released by the major papers are reporting some scary statistics.

Since November 08 more than 115 000 people have lost their jobs. The projections are that a further 200 000 or even 300 000 people will loose their jobs this year.

The motor sector is one sector that has been badly hit. Many in this industry are dependent on commission. This is, of course, a major problem since the latest figures report a 30% decline in sales over this period from last year meaning that commissions are down.

As a result the NCR project that we will see another 50 000 applicants(at least) this year with the figure looking to be higher as awareness of the debt review process grows.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Credit Card Debts: Why Consolidation Can Help

The number of people falling into credit card debt is incessantly on the rise. The reasons behind debt might be manifold like inadequate money management, decreased earnings, medical costs, no saving, divorce and so on. However, the debt which is escalating at a disturbing pace is credit card debt.

At present, credit card debt is really a matter to worry about since it is increasing on a daily basis. People go for credit cards due to a number of purposes. Some of them are the following:

  • Obtaining a credit card from any credit card provider is fairly simple. Any credit card provider would be keen to issue a card to you with a variety of plans and benefits.
  • When you have a number of credit cards, you can do limitless shopping despite not having any money in the bank.
  • Carrying a credit card ensures that you don’t have to carry cash so there is no risk of theft.

Nevertheless, the fundamental problem is that the consumers go on purchasing through one credit card until they max out on it and subsequently, they shift to another card and this process goes on. At the time of doing this, they don’t take into consideration their earnings or savings and even fail to remember that they need to pay this off. Ultimately, when they receive the credit card statement, they discover that they are into a big financial chaos.

So what do you do?

Some suggest that you should consolidate all your credit card debts into one loan and get yourself debt free. If you feel this is the right move for you then look for a professional and reputed debt consolidation company that can provide you with the most affordable deal. They can negotiate with your creditors for you, eliminate your late fees and lower your interest rate. Furthermore, all your credit card debts would then be consolidated into only one monthly payment and you can become debt free in a relatively quick time period. This could help you regain your financial status and get rid of your anxieties related to credit card debt repayment.

Find out more HERE:

Contributor Dorothy Parker
Visit her site:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Problem with you credit report? - Complain!

With the introduction of the NCA in 2007, consumers now have the right to challenge the accuracy of information in their credit reports.

If you have a problem with your credit status first, contact the Credit Bureau and obtain a copy of your latest credit report to find out the exact nature/status of the account in question. If you dispute any of the reported information, contact the Credit Bureau and provide all the facts about your claim. Make a note of the name of the Bureau representative you speak with and the reference number he or she provides. You will be required to complete and return a dispute form together with a copy of your ID and proof of residence. If your query is within their jurisdiction, they will launch an investigation (free of charge) and hopefully sort it out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Making finance child's play

So many adults are in financial difficulty at present. Experts are urging parents to teach their kids about finances. The trick is to start early.

Most children when asked where money comes from will say:"Daddy".

Children need to be taught certain fundimentals such as seperating needs from wants, how to save money of their own and how to "invest". By doing so you can help your children avoid future money woes.

Steps you can take:

1) Be a good example.

2) Set limits. Discuss how much they can spend. Set limits with them and stick to them.

3) Allow your kids to manage their own money. If your kids are getting "pocket money" then allow them to decide how to spend(or save it).

4) Teach them to share. Encourage your kids to share what they have with others.

Your children are the future earners and spenders of our economy. Help them to avoid the common pitfalls that lie out there in the world of Credit. The sooner you start training your kids to handlle their finances the better.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Banks are repossessing fewer houses & cars but shippers are worried

The world has been reeling under economic bad news, but slowly positive change is starting to happen in South Africa.

“Banks, which at one stage where repossessing 10 to 20 houses are now rethinking that strategy because they have realised that unoccupied houses don’t sell quickly because of the property slump and thieves soon strip them bare,” Andre Snyman, CEO of South Africa’s biggest umbrella debt counselling organisation Consumer Assist said.

“And so because of necessity, they are now letting home-owners remain in their dwellings and are renegotiating payment terms – which is what they should have done in the first instance,” he said. There has also been a reported slowing in vehicle repossessions because banks were unable to sell the cars they were repossessing.

A drop of 1,5% in interest rates since December 2008 is also relieving pressure on bond and vehicle repayments.

And in further good news, the total number of civil summonses issued for debt in 2008 decreased by 4,4% compared with 2007 according to StatsSA’s most recent report issued last week (19 February). However, there was an increase of 2,6% in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the fourth quarter of 2007.

StatsSA said the major contributors to the decrease in civil summonses issued for debt in 2008 compared with 2007 were civil summonses issued in respect of money lent (-5,5 percentage points), other services (-0,8 of a percentage point) and promissory notes and other acknowledgements of debt (-0,5 of a percentage point).

Snyman said this did not mean there was less debt – “what it means is that more people are going to debt counsellors to help them out of bad debt, while others are becoming far more careful of how they spend and are trying to pay off outstanding debt.”

In the release of it’s half- year results to end-December 2009, Woolworths CEO Simon Susman last week painted a picture of what was happening:"Our customers are thinking: 'I've got a big fat bond, two cars to pay off and kids at school or varsity. I have to trade down'."

In his recent budget speech Finance Minister Trevor Manuel gave some positives: “civil construction has performed well, supported by ongoing infrastructure investment. Our agricultural sector has grown strongly in response to higher prices and better rains. Sharply lower oil prices – a barrel of crude oil has fallen by 69 per cent from a peak of US$145 a barrel in July 2008 to about US$45 per barrel at present – will help to cut our import bill, but we are also experiencing a fall in export earnings.”

Nowadays, Snyman said, “every positive holds a negative. Shippers are expressing concerns that shipping to and from South Africa looks good until mid-year and then there is a steep fall off in forward bookings, it looks like companies are holding back and waiting to see what happens with the economy.

“Their fears are understandable but in the same way that governments in the USA and Britain have told bankers to stop holding so tight onto money and to allow new loans – because without them the economy constricts and nose-dives, business needs to adopt a more positive, growth oriented approach.”

Snyman said this included running skills training programmes to improve the performance capacity of staff “and with that we recommend they introduce financial wellness programmes to ensure that those who are over-indebted get the necessary help to change negative spending patterns.

Staff who are worried about debt are more likely to be absent due to stress-related illnesses and when they are at work they underperform because they are so worried about their financial situation.” After BMW introduced such a programme absenteeism dropped 34% in a one year period from 2007 to 2008 and the size of employee debt dropped 53%.

Consumer Assist has seen dramatic turnarounds in the performance of staff after or during financial wellness programmes. “We have these programmes on an ongoing basis in some of the top banks and manufacturing concerns in South Africa and find that once staff know they will be supported and helped with their debt problems they show a dramatic turn-around in how well they manage their debt and in improved workplace performance,” Snyman said.

Contributor: Andre Snyman CEO Consumer Assist 0861 21 22 23 debt counseling call centre

Monday, February 16, 2009

Would you like to contribute ?

Many of our readers have a lot of experience in the world of Debt Counselling and have been dealing with the debt review process since it's inception.
We welcome your input.

Would you like to contribute to Debt free ?

If you feel you have a comment or article that you would like to see included in one our upcoming issues please mail:

Friday, February 6, 2009

deSign of the times

We wish to welcome to the team Mark Rosenberg.

Mark is a design guru and is going to be handling our design and layout this year.
Mark is the editor and publisher of the ever popular Designtimes newspaper.

With Mark at the design "Helm" we can look forward to some innovative developements with the magazine over the next few months.

Friday, January 30, 2009

ABSA Customer Debt Repair line

I recently phoned ABSA's debt repair help line as a bit of an experiment.

A friendly and professional automated voice guided me through option after option.
Carefully i made my selections until cut me off
(It is always pleasant when a machine cuts you off rather than a person).

Other than being cut off, i found the only other snag to be that no immediate option existed of speaking to a human (i do so love talking to humans).
I can only assume that due to high call volumes the phone system is unable to process my request.

I have as yet to make it through to the elusive "human".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Compare bank charges

One of the hidden day to day costs lies in your monthly banking fees. Each time you use your card or draw money or deposit money it costs you. So try to cut down on these costs.

The importance of shopping around:

You compare prices at the shop don't you? Maybe it is time you did that with your bank charges as well.

If you were to switch from a bank charging say R50.00 per month in account fees to one charging R2.50 that would mean a saving of R570 per year.

(Industry note: This amount per month could, in some cases, be used to service an existing un-restructured debt amount of up to
R3 500.00/month)

Some banks are cheaper than others

One bank charges a "once-off" Internet banking charge of R120.00 and never charges for Internet banking again, as opposed to many other banks that charge up to R20.00 per month
A switch could eventually save you R240.00 a year

(Industry note: or in some cases a possible repayment on an un-restructured debt of up to R1 500.00/month)

A R67.50 saving monthly can contribute to repaying your debt sooner.

Happy bank shopping!

Relief Ahead ?

According to many financial sources SA’s main inflation rates dipped more than expected last month, driven by a sharp fall in fuel prices. This builds a case for the projected full percentage point cut in interest rates next week. So hold on this could mean some much needed relief for us all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Debt Counsellors for 2009

The NCR are presently processing more Debt Counselling applications than ever.Which is good news considering the NCR are predicting another 140000 applications being accepted for Debt Review by mid-year 2009.
This is understandably putting a strain on the targeted six week turn around time for applications.
The NCR has had over 1250 applications to date.
So if you are in the Queue try to be patient... it could be a while.

Feel free to contact the registration dept. in Pretoria on :
0860 627 627

This Years Schedule

Issue: March/April/May

Issue: June/July/August

Issue: September/October/November

Issue: December/ Jan 2010/Feb 2010

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Educate your clients

Are you a Debt Counsellor?
Improve your After Care!

Why not send each of your clients a quarterly subscription copy of Debt free magazine?

Each issue features articles on subjects which can help your clients such as:

How to live with less
How to reduce your cost of living
Coping with a changed lifestyle
Avoid temptation
Planning for the future - while under Debt Review



Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments in the Debt Counselling industry.



All the latest news stories and critical developments in the industry.

Reviews of current litigation.

The Magazine features interviews with industry leaders and their insights on where the industry is going.

The Magazine features a Directory Listing with helpful contact details for service providers.

This feature will lie open on many desks country-wide for many months to come.
(make sure to get your details listed)

Enquire about our FREE LISTINGS offer.

Useful charts and graphs to assist in the Debt Counselling process.


We invite you to subscribe to the new Debt Counselling South Africa Magazine.
You can receive all 4 copies yearly by subscribing, simply email:


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