Debtbusters gets 1429 applicants in two days

By Staff Writer
The National Credit Regulator received 1,429 applicants for debt counselling in just the first two days of February 2010, Debtbusters notes, an indication that the average South African consumer's debt problems are only getting worse.

It means that the total number of applicants for debt counselling has reached 145, 027 to date.

"If this trend continues, that would be over 20 000 applicants applying for Debt counselling per month - almost double the amount of any previous months - and a 14% growth rate per month," Debtbusters said.

Luke Hirst, MD of Debt experts Debtbusters said: "Unlike Europe and America, where interest rate cuts have allowed consumers to reduce their debt, in South Africa the rate reductions have been proportionately smaller and have just postponed the inevitable - consumers falling into arrears and slipping further into the debt spiral."

Since June 2008, interest rates in both the UK and USA have fallen by 90%. South Africa has not been so fortunate, with a mere 42% decrease, the debt expert noted.

"With the latest inflation figures breaching the 3-6% target range, rates may very well be decreased at the next Monetary Policy Committee meeting on 25th March, but we need substantial decreases to get to the root of the problem," Hirst said.

The latest Credit Bureau Monitor released by the NCR for Q3 shows that there were 18.01 million credit-active consumers, of which only 55% were in good standing. Seventeen percent were more than three months in arrears, and 15% landed up on adverse listings.

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