The National Credit Regulator (NCR) and the Credit Ombudsman have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) enabling them to work together to achieve the objectives of the National Credit Act (NCA) and resolve and investigate disputes between non-bank credit providers, credit bureaus and consumers.
Until now, the Credit Ombud could only resolve complaints about credit information and credit bureaus, while the NCR was responsible for all other credit complaints.
The NCR is a statutory body established by the NCA and is responsible for:
- regulating credit providers
- consumer education
- proposing policies to the minister of trade and industry
- registration of industry participants
- investigating disputes
- ensuring the enforcement of the NCA.
The Credit Ombud is a voluntary, non-statutory body recognised by section 11 of the Financial Services Ombud Scheme Act with jurisdiction in terms of the NCA and is responsible for resolving disputes between the non-bank credit industry and consumers regarding credit agreements and credit information, including clothing and furniture retail accounts, micro lenders and other non-bank loans.
The services of the Credit Ombud are free. Consumers are not bound by the ruling or decision of the Credit Ombud and may still refer a matter to the NCR.
According to section 139 of the NCA, the NCR can refer disputes to an ombud with jurisdiction to resolve disputes between credit providers and consumers.
Memorandum of understanding
In the MoU the NCR agreed that it will refer all disputes against members of the Credit Ombud, including non-bank credit providers, debt collectors and credit bureaus. The NCR and Credit Ombud will also work together on:
- quarterly reports from the Credit Ombud to the NCR regarding disputes the NCR referred to the Credit Ombud
- capacity building and training programmes
- outreach initiatives
- credit industry awareness and education
- research and information sharing.