Joint statement by
BANKSETA and The Banking Association South Africa
National launch of consumer education material for the credit industry
It is common course that unacceptable numbers of borrowers are in a situation where they can’t manage their debts because of over-indebtedness. A reason for this lie at the doors of borrowers, who sometimes fail to act responsibly in incurring debt and also don’t understand the implications of debt, as well as their obligations. However, it is also true that some lenders have been irresponsible in the way they extend credit and have also not had appropriate education and sensitisation programs in place to alert borrowers to some of the intricacies of debt. These issues were discussed at a meeting between The Banking Association SA (The Banking Association) and then Minister of Finance, Hon. Pravin Gordhan on 19 October 2012. The Banking Association then engaged organisations representing the full range of non-bank credit providers and the entire credit provider sector has now developed material to address these issues, in cooperation with Bankseta.
The credit provider sector has established a committee named the National Industry Steering Committee (NISC), which has been responsible for working with Bankseta, the funders of this project, to develop the education materials. NISC is constituted of The Banking Association, The Micro-finance Association of South Africa (MFSA), The National Clothing Retail Federation of South Africa (NCRF), Non-Bank Motor Financiers Association (NMFA),The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), including some Furniture Trading Associations and the,Large Non-Bank Lenders Association comprising of Old Mutual Finance (Pty) Ltd, Home Choice, Fin Choice, JD Group, Direct Axis SA (Pty) Ltd, RCS Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Real People (Pty) Ltd, Bayport Financial Services. After two years of extensive consultation with representatives of the National Treasury, the South African Reserve Bank, the Financial Services Board, and National Credit Regulator (NCR) a comprehensive package of consumer education material has been developed.
As the industry SETA, BANKSETA appointed COMPUSCAN ACADEMY to assist with the compilation of the material in conjunction with the industry. BANKSETA will distribute the material to credit providers, in order to enable the implementation of this consumer education content, within their customer engagement channels, in order to ensure that the consumer is thoroughly informed, understands and is comfortable with the product/service they are being sold.
“The credit industry has developed, with BANKSETA, a set of materials to enable individual credit providers to enable borrowers to understand their rights and obligations, as well as to understand the products they are contracting. Such enablement will take place during ’teachable moments ‘in the credit life cycle, including the pre-borrowing and borrowing stages. The ‘teachable moment’, for the credit provider, is the time at which teaching a particular topic or idea becomes possible and for the consumer, where they can benefit the most from this knowledge. I trust this education initiative will lead to delivery of financial products to match financial maturity.
It is envisaged that this practice will empower consumers with the necessary knowledge and better enable them to make rational and informed decisions when they choose credit products and services. The material will also enable borrowers to understand their rights and obligations and ensure lenders act responsibly.
Says BANKSETA Chief Executive Officer, Max Makhubalo: “South Africa is a nation of spenders rather than savers. Awareness of how to deal responsibly with money is essential if consumers are to avoid the debt trap and ensure they have sufficient funds for future needs. Our collaboration with The Banking Association will ensure that our investment is put to best use in spreading the credit message and influencing the mindsets of consumers across the country.”
Mr Max Makhubalo, BANKSETA CEO reiterated that “the material has been designed in a user and reader friendly format consisting of four themes: i) Your guide to Financial Health, ii) Making credit work for you, iii) Manage my credit responsibly and iv) Effective query & complaint resolution and is also available in a downloadable format on www.bankseta.org.za.
Other issues highlighted in the material are:
The National Treasury, NISC and the NCR will continue to discuss how the current system of debt counselling can be improved to remove perverse incentives, eliminate abuses and best benefit consumers.
The National Treasury and NISC will continue to work with the NCR to promote the common objective of ensuring that all credit providers treat customers fairly and customers act responsibly.
Cas Coovadia Max Makhubalo
MD: The Banking Association South Africa CEO: BANKSETA
For Media enquiries For enquiries on the material
Thenji Nhlapo Busisiwe Lubisi
Media & Communications Officer Manager: Marketing and Communications
The Banking Association South Africa BANKSETA
Tel: +27 11 645 6729 Tel: +27 11-8059661
Cell: +27 76 791 6918 Cell: +27 71 223 5722
Note to Editors:
The Banking Association South Africa
The role of The Banking Association is to facilitate the enablement of a conducive banking environment through robust engagement with government and relevant stakeholders. A critical role of The Banking Association is to work with its members to enable this role within the context of the transformation challenges prevailing in South Africa.
For more on The Banking Association South Africa visit – www.banking.org.za
In terms of the Skills Development Act, No 97 of 1998 as amended by the Skills Development Act, within the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) framework; the BANKSETA is mandated to develop skills in the banking and microfinance sector.
Ultimately this means that work-seekers find employment, retrenched workers re-enter the market and employers find qualified employees in a fair and equitable framework –www.bankseta.org.za