Credit industry gets its 'long overdue' ombudsman
Business Day, 19 June 2003
Banking adjudicator Neville Melville has welcomed the appointment of an independent ombudsman to regulate the credit industry to safeguard the rights of both consumers and industry stakeholders.
A number of organisations, including the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the SA Communist Party (SACP), have been calling for new regulations to be enacted to overhaul the way credit bureaus operate in this country.
Blade Nzimande, SACP secretary-general, said earlier this year that credit bureaus had been operating without transparency and to the detriment of consumers.
All SA'S banks, financial institutions and retailers who provide goods on credit make use of credit bureau services in deciding whether to provide credit to consumers.
In April, Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin published new regulations inviting comments until the middle of this month.
The appointment of the ombudsman will be complimentary to any proposed new regulation that may be passed.
Ashina Singh, spokeswoman for the Credit Industry Forum (CIF), the representative body of the industry, said the decision to appoint an ombudsman was a significant step after two years of deliberation. It would make the public aware that the industry had committed itself to addressing grievances, she said.
"The ombudsman will be ruling on disputes