Consumer groups welcome a crackdown on debt vultures by National Australia Bank (NAB)

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National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced that it will no longer deal with unlicensed debt management providers.

This move has been commended by Financial Counselling Australia, Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial Counselling Victoria, Financial Rights Legal Centre and Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA).

Fiona Guthrie, CEO of Financial Counselling Australia said, “financial counsellors applaud NAB for taking this strong stand against debt management companies. Too often, these companies prey on people in financial hardship and make their situation worse.

“With the number of people struggling with debt already increasing due to COVID-19 the time to act on these debt vultures is now.”

Consumer organisations commonly describe unlicensed debt management providers as ‘debt vultures’ due to the widespread harm that they cause.

Debt vultures target people who are concerned about bills, home repossession or the confusing credit reporting system. They promise a quick fix ‘debt solution,’ but in reality, these firms often charge exorbitant fees, fail to deliver on their promises and leave struggling families with even less money.

“We often hear from Australian families wooed by these ‘debt vultures’ with promises of fixing their credit report, wrangling their debts, and taking away financial worries. All too often, these promises are pure fiction,” says Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre.

“With growing financial difficulty due to COVID-19, business will be booming for debt vultures. We urge the Federal Government to act urgently, to ensure people can access quality debt advice.”

People experiencing financial hardship are urged to contact the National Debt Helpline (NDH) for free by visiting ndh.org.au or calling 1800 007 007.

“People struggling with bills and debts will be much better off if they talk to a free and independent financial counsellor,” Ms Guthrie said.

The NDH is a not-for-profit service that helps people in Australia tackle their debt problems. NDH is not a lender and does not ‘sell’ anything or make money.

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