Cash Converters Chooses Consumer Friend for Outsourced Debt Review Services

KWAZULU-NATAL, June 2022 - We take great pleasure in advising that Cash Converters has appointed CONSUMER FRIEND as its outsourced service provider for accounts entering the Debt Review process with effect 20 June 2022.

"We are pleased to welcome aboard another Credit Provider into the Consumer Friend stable. Superior Debt Review service is offered by our experienced team who use efficient processes and cutting-edge technologies via the user-friendly DReX operational platform," said Scott van Staden , Upstream Group Director.

Consumer Friend Wins - Best Retail Finance Credit Provider

8 consecutive years! Consumer Friend has done it again, winning the "Best Retail Finance Credit Provider Award" at the 2021 Debt Review Awards. We are truly enthused for being recognised for this important industry award.

The Debt Review Awards is an Industry Awards Program that is specific to the Debt Counselling and Debt Review Industry. Usually, a red-carpet gala evening is held to announce the winners of the various categories, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place, micro-events were held all over the country and the awards were live-streamed online. Hosting a successful virtual event is a challenging task, but the team from Debtfree are due a vote of thanks for the awesome function.

At Consumer Friend we believe that our advanced operating platforms and sophisticated systems, superior customer service and unique collections and debtor management strategies, are all contributing factors in setting us apart as industry leaders.

Meet Tshepo Dhlamini

Upstream Group's New Non-Executive Director

Tshepo is a qualified Chartered Accountant CA (SA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and holds a B.Acc.Sci. (Taxation Honours) from the University of Witwatersrand. Tshepo has recently been appointed as a Non-Executive Director representing African Rainbow Capital on the Upstream Board of Companies.

Tell us about your career thus far.

Prior to joining ARC, I worked for various companies specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, equity valuations, financial modeling, deal structuring, venture capital and post-investment monitoring and management. I was lucky enough to travel extensively within Africa which created a passion for travel within me.

What Impact are you hoping to make by being on the board?

I believe that by having more Non-Executive Directors on the board, you gain an unobstructed view of opportunities, commercialization solutions and viewpoints. I am excited about the possibility of growing the Group's footprint within the ARC portfolio and wider investor networks so as to generate more tangible shareholder and stakeholder value. I am also interested in being involved in the corporate governance structures and offering some expertise in that regard.

Outside of work, who is Tshepo?

I am a husband to a wonderful woman, also an Accountant, and I am a dad to a 9 year-old daughter and a 4 year-old son. I enjoy running and time in the gym, but time with my children takes preference. I really enjoy reading and expanding my general knowledge. This is a habit I am impressing on my children from an early age.

Tell us about something that you've done that took you out of your comfort zone.

Bungy jumping off Bloukrans Bridge and sky diving both come to mind. It turns out that I really enjoyed both, so I guess I'll need to reassess where my comfort zone begins and ends!

Ubank Ltd Chooses Consumer Friend for Outsourced Debt Review Services

KWAZULU-NATAL, MAY 2021 - We take great pleasure in advising that UBANK has appointed CONSUMER FRIEND as its outsourced service provider for accounts entering the Debt Review process.

"We are delighted to welcome another Bank into the Consumer Friend stable. Our experienced team uses efficient processes and cutting-edge technologies to provide a superior Debt Review service via the user-friendly DReX operational platform," said Laszlo Toth, Upstream Group CEO.

Consumer Friend Recognised by RCS

On the 5th of March RCS held their Annual EDC Awards Celebration for 2020. This year, the event was held in a virtual fashion and highlighted top outsourced debt collection organisations that have made a considerable impact in recovering funds on behalf of RCS.

Consumer Friend was once again announced as the winner of the prestigious EDC of the year (specialised) award, which was accepted by Director, Scott van Staden. Consumer Friend provides RCS with specialised business support services for debt rehabilitation and debt review. A key focus of the business is ensuring cash flow optimization, through unique collections and debtor management strategies.

"We appreciate the recognition from RCS and are pleased to have had the opportunity to provide stellar service to RCS for over 13 years," said van Staden.

Burn that excess Debt! It's time to detox and declutter.

January 2021, a month like no other. The new year customarily comes with resolutions; weight loss, spiritual and mental health goals. It does, however, seem as though 2021 has prompted us to deviate slightly from this as the topmost goal is now to focus on being appreciative of our true 'assets' - our loved ones.

While we are humbly appreciative of our 'assets', in the spirit of detoxing and decluttering for the new year, we must understand that excess debt which we may have accumulated does not go away. Discipline is required to give effect to the detox and declutter and, ultimately to get rid of all the excess debt. In this way, you are in control of your debt as opposed to being controlled by debt.

The Credit Ombud appeals to consumers to use January to detox and declutter debt and to consider the following:

  1. Only apply for credit when the need arises and not for 'wants'. If you have a need for credit, consider your affordability. Conduct an affordability calculation of your income and expenses.
  2. Be self-disciplined and create a monthly budget. Your budget allows you to have a clear perspective of what is your income against your expenses. It can also help to understand your spending patterns and how you may adjust these to reach your goals.
  3. Prioritize your spending. Now is the perfect time to re-look at your spending habits and make changes. If you have been fortunate to still have an income, spend less on luxuries and add a little extra towards your debt repayments.
  4. Remember that credit comes with interest and other additional costs accruing. You should consider these additional costs when applying for credit.
  5. Buying on credit should be for 'big-item purchases', like a home. If you have been prudent to budget for an item, pay cash or purchase through lay-bye.

Clutter overwhelms - you do not know where to start to tidy up. A routine way to declutter would be by putting items in order systematically; then deciding whether you want to keep, throw away or donate the items. If you cannot manage to declutter on your own, you call the professionals to help. The aim is to pay off existing debt and not take-on further debt. To do this, we must commit to:

The process isn't an easy one, however, once all the toxins are gone and there's no clutter, we can have a clean start. With financial knowledge acquired while detoxing and decluttering our debt, we will make wiser financial decisions.

Consumers can contact the office of the Credit Ombud for FREE assistance if they experience any issues relating to credit agreements with non-bank credit providers such as the clothing and furniture retailers as well as micro-lenders, fraudulent listings, emolument attachment orders ("garnishee orders") or general complaints about their credit bureaux listings. The office can be contacted on 0861 66 28 37; on the website www.creditombud.org.za; email us at ombud@creditombud.org.za or send a SMS to 44786 and we will call you.

NCR Circular on Standardised Court Orders

Towards the end of 2020, after deliberations with various related stakeholders, the NCR issued a circular developed by the CIF with proposed operational solutions to standardize debt review court orders. It further addresses the inability of debt counsellors to comply with the 2012 Regulations due to delays by the courts to make the granted court orders available within 5 working days.

The following must be included in a debt review court order:

The circular goes further to address general exclusions from court orders. The Circular refers to 2 clauses that should be excluded and not be referred to in the court order. They are:

The final part of the circular remedies the inability of debt counsellor to comply with the 2012 Regulations due to courts not providing the court order within 5 working days.

The following working days have been extended:

Should you require a copy of the Regulations, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Industry Ready to Commence After Festive Season

Whilst most of the bigger debt counsellors remained open with skeleton staff during the festive season, all debt counsellors are due to return to work between the 1st and 2nd week of January 2021.

The courts are due to open the 2nd week of January 2021.

UPDATE: 08 January 2021

Towards the end of January 2021, the NCR issued a circular wherein they authorised the transfer of several consumers from debt counsellors who have been deregistered or whose registration has lapsed.

They provided the details of the debt counsellors to whom the consumer will be transferred. Whilst the circular stated that we will be contacted by the new debt counsellors to facilitate the transfer, we have proceeded to get in touch with the new debt counsellors to obtain a list of the affected consumers.

Once we have these details, we will proceed with the transfer on our system.

Old Mutual Finance (Pty) Ltd Appoints Core Connect for Outsourced Debt Collection

KWAZULU-NATAL, 6 NOVEMBER 2020 – Old Mutual Finance (Pty) Ltd. has mandated Core Connect, as one of its service providers, to collect First and Second placement accounts.

The Core Connect business model is built on the principle of mutual and maximum benefit for all parties involved in the debt recovery process. Based on a solid foundation of highly skilled staff, sound collections methodologies and cutting-edge technology, Core Connect is strategically positioned to improve yield performance across the various sectors of the debt collection industry.

"Our business process includes scientific debt segmentation and data-driven collection strategies which incorporate industry best practices to maximise collections. Business analytics is key to our operation, allowing us to identify trends early in the collections cycle. Quality control is also an integral part of our process, resulting in satisfied Clients with excellent collection rates," said Meloshini Naicker, Head of Collections at Core Connect.

A message from our CEO at the Virtual 2020 Debt Review Awards

Consumer Friend wins "Best Retail Finance Credit Provider" at the Debt Review Awards 2020.

Consumer Friend appointed to Administer EDCON (RCS Book) Debt Review Portfolio

Consumer Friend, the largest subsidiary of the Upstream Group, provides comprehensive outsourced services for accounts receivables that have become part of the Debt Review process.

Consumer Friend has recently been appointed to take over the Debt Review administration process for a significant portion of the RCS-Edcon portfolio.

ABSA recently sold its Edcon store card portfolio to the RCS Group. This includes the Edgars' and Jet Stores consumer credit portfolio. RCS has been a client of Consumer Friend since 2008 and as such this newly acquired RCS portfolio becomes an extension of the existing and long-standing RCS and Consumer Friend business relationship. "We are fully satisfied with the working relationship that we have with Consumer Friend," said Unati Manyela, Recoveries Manager at RCS.

Through a combination of skilled people, efficient processes and leading-edge technology, Consumer Friend performs at the forefront of the Debt Review industry consistently providing superior, relevant and professional solutions.