New CEO Brett Van Aswegen directing Wonga SA’s responsible lending initiatives

Wonga SA has been taking a close look at responsible lending, and has been taking the lead in this part of the payday loans industry

Wonga South Africa CEO, Kevin Hurwitz in October 2014, Wonga were delighted to announce that Mr. Brett Van Aswegen has been recruited as Hurwitz’s replacement, in a move that looks set to stabilise and increase Wonga’s position as the top payday loan provider in South Africa.

The right man for the job

Van Aswegen, hired earlier this year in May, has the right credentials for the job. He comes from Lewis, the South African furniture manufacturer where he worked for 12 years. When he left, he was one of the board’s listed directors, operating in the capacity of Credit Risk Director.

During his 12 years at Lewis Van Aswegen was responsible for initiating new credit systems, risk models and direct marketing policies that enabled the company to become the first ever furniture manufacturer in South Africa to provide revolving credit facilities for its customers.

Mr. Van Aswegen has an excellent track record in the credit sector. He was acting chairperson with the Credit Providers Association when the National Credit Act came into force in South Africa. He was instrumental in guiding and helping the credit association through the necessary changes that were needed to be made in order to introduce the act. He’s also led a team of over 500 personnel at consumer finance company afb, when they became the first company to issue retail credit cards in Kenya.

Determined to improve customers’ money managing skills

Under Mr Van Aswegen’s guidance are working tirelessly towards improving their customers’ awareness of money management skills. Only last month the results of a survey that was carried out in May (initiated and headed up by Van Aswegen shortly after his arrival at the company) were revealed. 18,000 people took part in the survey and it showed that many customers do not have the understanding of what is needed in order to achieve financial wellness, something that they would like to be able to address.

Mr. Van Aswegen is reported as saying, “It is imperative that consumers are educated about the various issues related to credit and to get financially fit to avoid getting into debt. Savings help prepare for unforeseen emergencies, but too many consumers don’t have the additional financial means or the discipline to save.”

Another Wonga SA initiative to promote customers’ savings plans

The good news is that Mr. Van Aswegen and Wonga SA are taking what they see as part of their responsibility very seriously. They recently issued a challenge to customers to start savings plans if they don’t already have them.

The challenge is to attempt to set by 10% of their salaries each month, not using it unless they encounter a real serious financial emergency. It’s a positive step in the right direction to show Wonga SA’s commitment to responsible lending.