Jan 24, 2018

The PMA’s Consumer Relations Halls staff exchanges experience with the Bosnian organization “U Plusu” on matters of advising consumers in overindebtedness situations.

It is certainly not a matter that affected people like to easily talk about, or to actively seek help about: Overindebtedness. Nevertheless: Professional, reliable and neutral help is essential to move out of such vicious circle. What ways can be found to help people manage their household budgets better, which solutions can be found to reschedule a loan or change a lifestyle? What can be done to prevent such situations, what can be done to mitigate it once already out of control? Question like these have been addressed in an experience exchange between the PMA’s Consumer Relations Halls staff and their peers from Bosnia & Herzegovina, where the organization “U Plusu” advises particularly overindebted clients since a credit crisis hit the young country in 2008.

In a full week programme of both experience exchange and training on typical client profiles, product features, psychological aspects and practical tips & tricks, Consumer Relations Halls advisors as well as further PMA staff involved in consumer protection and financial education had a chance to share thoughts, impressions and techniques. The PMA’s Consumer Relations Halls are getting prepared to help overindebted consumers in a more systematic way, with related tools and latest methods. Palestine is the only place in the whole MENA region where such direct access point for consumers exists. Client numbers have constantly and strongly increased over the last years – they currently serve more than 11,300 clients each year. While so far the majority of requests are about credit report information and complaints, with a series of trainings and new equipment the services of the consumer relations halls are now widened as part of the PMA’s enhancement plan.

This project is supported by the German Cooperation, implemented through the GIZ “Promotion of Microfinance in the MENA Region” programme, as well as the Luxembourg-based SANAD Fund’s Technical Assistance Facility, which is financed by the German Ministry of Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and the Austrian Development Bank.

By Thomas Rahn