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Consumer credit bill now open for public input

The consumer credit bill (CCB), a new law that seeks to enhance consumer protection as it relates to financial services issued by non-banking companies, has finally been approved and is now open for public consultation.

These consultations will start next month and will have credit providers (such as microlenders, banks, retail stores offering credit, pawnshops, debt collectors, and credit bureaus) and individuals who use credit, adding their voices to the published bill.

The Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises, with the help of the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) and other stakeholders spearheaded the drafting of the bill, and after months of consultation have officially endorsed it.

The purpose of the proposed consumer credit bill is to promote fair, transparent and responsible market conduct in the consumer credit market.

“Consumer protection is key to our operations, and therefore I encourage consumers to know their rights and responsibilities as users of financial service products,” says Kenneth Matomola, Namfisa’s chief executive.

Namfisa has over the years received many complaints from consumers of non-banking financial institutions.

Over the last five years, the regulator has enabled the return of over N$30 million to financial services consumers.

As of December 2021, Namfisa had some 350 microlenders, and these are the entities the bill seeks to regulate.

Included in the bill are creditor protection provisions, which, for instance, state that a credit provider must not keep, request or demand to retain the consumer or prospective consumer’s identity document, credit or debit card.

This is a common practice now among credit providers. The bill further calls for the regulation of debt collectors.

Namfisa is calling on credit providers, such as microlenders, banks, retail stores offering credit, pawnshops, debt collectors, credit, bureaus and individuals who use credit to provide their input.

The consultations are scheduled to start taking place in the Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Kavango West and East, and Zambezi regions during August.

The dates will be communicated in due course.
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