South Africa: Debt Relief Law a Cause for Concern for South Africa's Banks?

(file photo).
19 August 2019

Cape Town — President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the National Credit Amendment Bill into law. The law, also referred to as the "Debt Relief Law", will afford low-income workers and over-indebted consumers the opportunity to have payments suspended or even scrapped, depending on their financial status, writes Bloomberg.

The banking sector, which opposed the bill along with clothing retailers who provide credit and the Democratic Alliance, expressed concern over the legislation. Cas Coovadia, the managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa, said: "It's disappointing that after our petition, the president made no attempt to interact with the industry and understand our concerns. This is an issue of serious concern. This could have serious economic implications. We will await the gazetting of the bill and details around its implementation. We will sit down and consider our other options."

According to Fin24, The bill was initiated by Parliament's portfolio committee on trade and industry in November of 2017. It gives the National Credit Regulator the means to suspend credit agreements if the credit provider considers their credit agreement in an assessment to be reckless. South Africa's National Treasury estimates that the debt-relief proposals could result in the write-off of R13.2 billion to R20 billion of debt under provisions of the bill, Business Day writes.

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