NCR Database Turn Around Time Issues Grow
For consumers to leave debt review when their debts are paid up the NCR needs to update their consumer database. Debt Counsellors and consumers are now dependent on the NCR to complete their work before this is accomplished. Now slowly increasing backlogs are beginning to impact on some consumers.
In a surprise move at the end of February, the NCR unexpectedly issued a Circular (#2) to the industry that changed the way consumers’ information is updated on their internal database. It introduced a much more time consuming and demanding process in order for Debt Counsellors to update changes at each step of the process.
The new changes essentially demand that the Debt Counsellor provide a copy of proof of work for each step of a debt review. It also required that these all be emailed by hundreds of Debt Counsellors for thousands of clients with hundreds of thousands of attachments to the same email address (which has an email attachment size limit of 15mb).
When the circular was released it was met with mixed emotions. Some hoped it would help protect consumers from scammers who would not email the NCR. others felt that the NCR could rather focus on reported scammers and do investigations instead of creating a massive new workload for all Debt Counsellors across the whole country. Mostly people in the industry were worried that the NCR might not be able to stick to the required (and promised) timelines.
At first, many Debt Counsellors held off submitting new updates to the NCR. This went on for a week and then everyone realised that they would have to start and so they did. Cautious and optimistic at first most submissions were dealt with by the NCRs dedicated team (reportedly of 12 members). Some time has now past and reports are starting to filter in about some delays.
One online group of Debt Counsellors had mixed results an internal poll. Some Debt Counsellors are reporting no problems. Others are reporting that the 7 day turnaround time promised has been exceeded. Some Debt Counsellors reported more than 10 days have passed since they sent the required info. They are now having to escalate matters as a result (which further backs up the system, no doubt).
A well known industry consultant reports that, in recent interactions with Debt Counsellors, he had picked up some lack of understanding about the Circular. He also says he has received information that incomplete or irrelevant submissions to the NCR mailbox were being made. The inbox has become flooded and this is placing strain on an already limited resource.
‘The inbox has become flooded and this is placing strain on an already limited resource’
He says that if Debt Counsellors get a better understanding of the new updating process the issues can be avoided. Others however feel that the NCR has bitten off more than they can possibly ever chew.
A small group of Debt Counsellors are actually more concerned that the circular and NCR delays in updating matters to credit bureaus is actually forcing Debt Counsellors to break the requirements of the NCA (which says that once a consumers debt is paid up the Debt Counsellor has to issue the clearance certificate or form within a set amount of time.
It seems that there are concerns of various types and for various reasons. Rumours have started to surface that the NCR may reduce or change some of the requirements to lessen the workload on both themselves and Debt Counsellors. It is unclear if there is any substance to these rumours.
Complaining About The NCR
Some clients have been complaining that the Debt Counsellor has not done what they are meant to and after an explanation from the Debt Counsellor that it is the NCR that are now holding things up are starting to complete complaint forms with the NCR about the NCR. Which will result in the NCR having to investigate the NCR to find out why they are taking so long to the detriment of the consumers affected.