Debt Relief Bill: 13 Fast Facts

Featured

debt-1157824_960_720We explore details around Government’s recently signed National Credit Act amendment, which aims to free low-income earners of crippling debt.

pbVerify Business customers who extend credit to consumers are urged to strengthen their KYC procedures to not only ensure legislative compliance, but also to protect them against potential financial losses.

This comes after a recent amendment to South Africa’s credit act, which has highlighted the importance of responsible credit lending.

Just over two months ago, the National Credit Amendment Bill – broadly dubbed the “Debt Relief Bill” – was signed into law and, although it has been almost two years since Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry initiated the amendment bill, there are still uncertainties around its implications.

Also known as the Debt Intervention Bill, the bill basically aims to protect low-income earners from what government considers reckless credit lending, allowing consumers who are burdened by debt to have it written off.

While the bill has been welcomed by consumers, around 9.4 million*[7] of whom may qualify for debt relief thanks to it now having been signed into law, it has been met with “extreme concern” by others, including the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA), which said in a statement on 16 August, “The Act, in its current form, will restrict ability of banks to lend to this vulnerable market and increase the cost of credit.”

Treasury estimated government’s debt-relief proposals could result in the write-off of R13.2bn to R20bn of debt.

In response to concerns raised, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the bill and its proposals were within the country’s constitution. Business Day cites Ramaphosa as saying that, regulations and certain provisions notwithstanding, the law is constitutional.

Here are some fast facts relating to the debt relief bill and debt in South Africa to help demystify the controversial piece of legislation:

  1. The National Credit Amendment Bill was signed into law on 15 August 2019.
  2. The Debt Intervention Bill is an amendment to the National Credit Act.
  3. The bill’s primary aim is to provide relief for South Africa’s vulnerable and most financially distressed consumers.
  4. There is no date set yet for the bill to come into operation.
  5. According to the bill, indebted consumers must meet the following criteria in order to have debt extinguished:
    1. They must earn a gross monthly income of R7 500 or less.
    2. They must have unsecured debt amounting to R50 000.
    3. The National Credit Regulator (NCR) must have found them to be critically indebted.
  6. The bill also makes it an offence for a person to intentionally submit false information related to debt relief.
  7. The bill will inevitably result in losses for banks, retailers and other credit providers.
  8. TransUnion’s Q2 quarterly Industry Insights Report shows a significant increase in the amount of credit being taken out by consumers (Unsecured lending was recorded to be up by 12% in the second quarter).
  9. BASA petitioned Ramaphosa in August not to sign the Act in its current form.
  10. According to BASA, existing debt relief measures have proven to educate and rehabilitate debtors and return them to the credit market. “In 2017, banks expunged R30 billion in prescribed debt in line with existing legislation and their own policies.”
  11. Following a government-commissioned study by consulting firm Genesis Analytics, it was suggested that Parliament reconsider the passage of the bill in its current form, and rather introduce the debt-intervention system within the bounds of the current debt-review system, with subsidy mechanisms for low-income consumers.
  12. According to the Genesis Analytics study, it is unlikely that the introduction of law will have a significant economic impact at a macro-economy level.
  13. The study suggests that the law will mostly benefit the informal credit market. On the other hand, the formal sector credit providers could lose about R3.9bn of existing credit book.

pbVerify is a registered Credit Bureau in terms of section 43 of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. Its data-systems, data-security and data-processing protocols are audited annually in accordance with the NCA. pbVerify follows strict ISO9001:2015 quality management processes that are audited and internationally certified by TUV Rheinland Germany. pbVerify engineers are certified in ISO27001 IT Security Management.

Phone: +27 (0)10 300 4898

E-mail: support@pbverify.co.za

 

[REFERENCES]

  1. gov.za – National Credit Amendment Act 7 of 2019
  2. Government Gazette – National Credit Amendment Act 7 of 2019 PDF
  3. Fin24 – 5 questions on the ‘debt relief bill’ unpacked
  4. TransUnion – Q2 2019 Industry Insights Report
  5. Moneyweb – Unsecured lending up 12% – report
  6. The Banking Association of South Africa – NCA Amendment Act
  7. *Moneyweb – Close to 9.4m consumers may qualify for debt relief under new bill
  8. Business Day – Cyril Ramaphosa defends controversial debt-relief law
  9. Business Tech – Ramaphosa signs controversial new debt relief bill into law – Here’what it means for you

They’re here: pbVerify’s all-new website and enhanced system have landed

Featured

Marketing concept with person using a laptopOur central data-hub of powerful and intelligent credit and identity information has received its long-awaited face-lift – with a faster system and exciting new products to boot.

As a leading data bureau with innovation at its core, pbVerify has been hard at work face-lifting our website and enhancing our service, so that we can bring you the most cutting-edge products, complete with the latest user interface.

Today, we are both delighted and proud to announce that, after months of blood, sweat, tears, late nights and too much coffee, our all-new website and supplemented online service is ready to go live.

On Monday 2 September, when you open pbVerify.co.za, and log in to your account, you will be greeted with a vibrant new interface, and a greatly enhanced system, featuring more comprehensive data and faster response times on all our existing reports.

What can you expect from the new interface?

Dashboard:

An eye-pleasing and functional dashboard featuring customisable weather updates and news strings to accompany your first cup of coffee in the morning. For our new customers, the new dashboard also features a site explaining the system’s main features and how to navigate through them.

We’ve added your Pending baskets to the dashboard, providing a clear view of outstanding bank reports, which are updated in real-time.

The new menu system makes it easier than ever to navigate our extensive range of products, either by product, or by bureaux. We’ve also enhanced the transaction history section, making it easy to search and find past transactions, and to download files.

Enhanced Reports:

Not only are our new reports beautifully formatted for you, they also contain enhanced quality data, which is now fully interactive. When opening a report, you can find the sections that are hyperlinked, and simply click on the relevant one/s. The links provide click-through functionality presenting more in-depth searches and reports on the data-subject.

New Products:

You can now remove customers you previously listed under the TransUnion Default Listing product. You no longer need to send letters for delisting or updating TransUnion, simply use the TransUnion Default Listing Manager on your Dashboard to manage, update or remove any listing.

But that’s not all

Our platform is gearing up to bring all our customers electronic FICA functionality, previously only available to large organisations and banks. These products, already available via API, will be launched within the next two months, so watch your emails for announcements..

KYCFactory

First up on the list, is our new digital KYC (Know Your Customer) tool, KYCFactory. Developed by our SigniFlow software team, KYCFactory offers businesses a compliant, automated and fully digitised FICA system that caters for both juristic and natural persons, as per policy defined by the Risk Management and Compliance Programme (RMCP).

KYCFactory is the first fully digital end-to-end electronic FICA/AML (Anti-Money Laundering) solution on the market that requires no supporting documents, irrespective of whether your company is on-boarding a consumer or a business. You will be able to read all about this groundbreaker under its dropdown menu on the new pbVerify website.

KYCFactory’s consumer verification comprises configurable, automated processes, including a slick new online 3D liveness test that biometrically matches the person to their national identity document photo, identity data, and alive-deceased data while retrieving their address from over 100 trustworthy SACRRA sources. Juristic entities are equally provided for with a brand-new approach to FICA verification, through an electronic declaration that caters for Directors, Signatories and UBOs (Ultimate Beneficiary Owners) compliant with the new FIC Amendment Act.

KYCFactory incorporates our new Sanctions, PEP and PIP (Politically Exposed and Influential Persons) reporting tool, which enables you to manually screen prospective clients and perform enhanced due diligence on anyone, from any country. This service instantly reports on over 2.5 million detailed PEP profiles and detects individuals, organisations and vessels linked to more than 50 risk categories, including Sanctions, Foreign Officials, and State-Owned Enterprises.

The second part of our Sanctions screening service relates specifically to sanctions and embargoes – i.e. political trade restrictions put in place against target countries to maintain or restore international peace and security. KYCFactory automates reporting on business with individuals who pose a threat and are listed on OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control) Mission. Read more here.

RapidLEI

The next new entry, RapidLEI, is just as innovative and powerful. PBSA has teamed up with UK-based Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) innovator, RapidLEI, to build instant LEI registration into the pbVerify system.

Launched last year by our partner Ubisecure, RapidLEI’s pioneering automatic LEI issuance process takes the process of registering Legal Entity Identifiers, and reduces it from days to mere minutes. With regulation mandating the use of LEIs and new use cases now benefitting from the identity assurance LEIs can offer, this G20-endorsed organisation identifier is already achieving mass adoption.

To find out more about the history behind RapidLEI, and how the service automates the LEI issuance processes to deliver LEIs much faster and easier than ever before, click here. You can also watch Ubisecure’s video on this fully automated LEI process here.

 We look forward to hearing from you on our new website, system and products. If you have any queries or comments, please don’t hesitate to give us a ring on +27 (0)10 300 4898 or email support@pbverify.co.za.

pbVerify is a registered Credit Bureau in terms of section 43 of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. Its data-systems, data-security and data-processing protocols are audited annually in accordance with the NCA. pbVerify follows strict ISO9001:2015 quality management processes that are audited and internationally certified by TUV Rheinland Germany. pbVerify engineers are certified in ISO27001 IT Security Management.

[REFERENCES]

  1. SigniFlow – Digital KYC
  2. Ubisecure – RapidLEI From Ubisecure
  3. Ubisecure YouTube channel – RapidLEI fully automated Legal Entity Identifiers (LEI)