The indebtedness of consumers is soaring as the local economic outlook continues to sour, but there may be hope on the horizon.
Over 41% of all credit accounts belonging to the 17,56-million credit active South Africans are delinquent, according to the newly launched National Debt Mediations Association (NDMA), set up under the auspices of the National Credit Act.
In addition, the portion of household net disposable income that is applied to service debt is at an "alarming" average of 75%.
But the credit industry, including banks, debt counsellors and payment distribution agents, under the auspices of the NDMA, has created a debt review process that will enable over-indebted consumers to deal more effectively with their bills.
Simply put, the proposed review process obliges credit providers affiliated to the NDMA to offer customers a step-by-step programme to renegotiate their mortgages, vehicle loans and short-term loans, says Tjaart van der Walt, CEO of the NDMA.
Based on four rules that must be followed in sequential order, the review process is designed to improve greatly consumer credit rehabilitation.
The process can, however, only begin if consumers agree to restructure their budgets, liquidate non-essential assets such as holiday homes and to put a stop to spending on non-essential items.
From here, rule one allows for the extension of credit terms for mortgages for up to 360 months, vehicle loans to 1,5 times the original loan term and short-term loans to three times the contractual term.
If this does not work, rule two allows the adjustment of loan interest rates on a sliding downward scale to the minimum of the Repo rate.
Should these measures fail and consumers have a mortgage, an application can be made for payment of a holiday in instalments of up to a year while they deal with their other debts, as per rule three.
Finally, rule four is applied if this doesn't work either, with a further 12 months' reduction in yields on all other loans, except a mortgage, to a minimum of 0%, the condition being that the consumer's finances improve within 60 months.
full story from M&G here