National Credit Amendment Bill changes

Further comment on National Credit Amendment Bill…

joan fubbsIn an interesting parliamentary development, due in the main to what appears a determined attempt to listen to the banking industry, the portfolio committee on trade and industry made public its intention to make further amendments to the National Credit Amendment Bill tabled at the end of last year. Chairperson Joan Fubbs made her point during general debate.

In doing so, the committee  called for further public comment but such comments were restricted to the actual amendments  proposed by the portfolio committee and not the Bill itself as was first tabled, i.e. on the basis of the need for such a Bill or its rationale.

Bill cuts down on credit info

The Bill, which amends the anchor legislation to incorporate affordability assessments and will enable removal of some of the adverse credit information from credit bureaus, plus strengthen debt counselling, was strenuously criticised during hearings by those who opposed self regulation,, as suggested by the banking industry on debt assessment.

The matters involved are technical and appear to involve banking procedures, the granting of credit and credit granting governance issues.  The Bill is expected to be approved as the present government ends.

Amongst the points which came up at the hearings, and which the portfolio committee wanted further input, were as follows:

•    Revision of the governance structure of the national credit regulator to remove the board and allow the regulator to be directly accountable to the minister
•    New clause: Providing for an offence where prohibited charges are charged by the credit provider, including where the capped interest rate is exceeded
•    New clause: Capping and/or regulating the cost and not just the value of credit insurance)
•    Proof that notices are delivered (section 129 of the Act).
•    New clause: Providing for an offence where debts that have become prescribed under the Prescription Act are collected, sold, and re-activated
•    New clause: Providing for the minister to prescribe additional regulations such as ‘fit and proper’ test; a process to payment distribution agents to de-register them; the duties, obligations and fees of alternative dispute resolution agents; and other issues such as penalties for late renewal of registration and withdrawal from a debt review process.

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