Kudos for debt counsellors

Individuals from three Eastern Cape agencies recognised among best

Counsellors from three Eastern Cape debt counselling agencies have been rated at the top of their industry at the National Debt Review Awards.
The awards, now in their fifth year, placed debt review counsellors from Uitenhage-based Master Your Money, Algoa Debt Care in Newton Park and Debt Restructuring Services (DRS) in Queenstown among the best from almost 1 600 nationwide
The awards, held earlier this month in Cape Town, were founded by Debtfree magazine editor Zak King, who wanted to offer recognition to counsellors working hard to improve their clients’ financial futures.
“Every professional industry has some sort of awards process to recognise members of the industry,” King said.
“It only made sense to help recognise the hard work being put in by the dedicated people within the industry.
“There are some great individuals and great companies going to great lengths to assist consumers and it is important to show appreciation and give recognition of those efforts.”
King said the various winners had been chosen from almost 1 600 registered counsellors.“During the process and based on a series of ongoing reviews by various parties [including registered credit providers and payment distribution agents], we progressively shortlist the possible candidates to the top-scoring debt counsellors in each category [based on the size of the business].
“Along the way the reviews become more and more detailed, until we can finally identify [the top candidates and winners] in each of the categories.”
DRS co-owner Annerie Marais, who was in the top five medium companies, said the award was a massive compliment.
“I take my work very seriously and the clients’ interests come first,” Marais, who has been a debt counsellor since 2009, said.
“The best part of my job is when I can declare someone debt-free, because it is a hard process and takes many sacrifices on the client’s part.”
Master Your Money director Shaun Zeelie, honoured in the category for small firms, said he appreciated the sense of relief he could bring to clients carrying the burden of debt.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment in seeing someone leave your office with a lighter [burden] on their shoulders,” Zeelie said.
“The toughest part is when you can’t help people because they waited too long to seek help.
“The top-five rating means a lot, because it means my work is being noticed and it motivates me to keep working and improving.”
Amanda Johnson, of Algoa Debt Care, was overjoyed to be honoured by the awards in the category for boutique counsellors.
“I am more excited than the consumers most of the time when clearance is issued, so to be honoured as being one of the five top boutique debt counsellors is awesome,” Johnson said.
“This is my passion.
“[It] is quite a privilege to be acknowledged and a reflection of the service that I strive to provide.”

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