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Experiences From The Ground: Sharing by a Debt Servicing and Support (DSS) Staff

For the past eight years, I have been part of Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS), serving a fulfilling role as a Team Lead in the Debt Servicing & Support Department (“DSS”).

When I started, we were a small team of just six people. Today, we have grown to a dedicated team of 14. Our role is to provide support to debt-distressed individuals, offer a listening ear and connect them to helpful resources as we journey with them towards being debt free.

Before joining the CCS family, I worked in consumer banking. It was during this time that I learnt about the important work that CCS does – providing information and credit counselling to help debt-distressed individuals make informed decisions to address unsecured debt issues, arising from credit cards, overdraft facilities and personal loans.

What makes CCS a unique organisation is that we work hand-in-hand with the lenders to propose debt repayment arrangements on behalf of borrowers. We maintain close partnerships with banks, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), Credit Bureau Singapore, and other vital stakeholders.

The main goal of our support team is to build trust and foster positive relationships with clients in our Debt Management Programme (DMP). As DMP is a long-term repayment program, our team members become aware of the emotional struggles and the underlying causes of their debt when they face repayment difficulties. We listen actively, show empathy, and provide support in a non-judgmental way. In this manner, we establish rapport and create a safe environment where clients feel comfortable discussing their financial difficulties.

My role as a Team Lead is to oversee day-to-day operations, provide support to my team members and Head of Department to ensure that our clients’ presenting issues are sufficiently addressed. We work closely with colleagues from other departments to ensure our services are executed seamlessly.

Throughout my years with CCS, I have witnessed clients experiencing emotional breakdowns due to their own debt issues as well as their family members facing similar distress.

I recall handling a case of Mr. S, who maintained close contact with me. He candidly shared his inability to repay the remaining debts under his DMP due to severe medical conditions. Initially, this case took an emotional toll on me as I grappled with the feeling that there was only so much I could do to assist Mr. S.

I am grateful that with external training and the support of my colleagues, I’ve become better equipped to manage my own well-being while addressing the concern of our clients, offering encouragement, and helping them manage their stress and anxiety.

While Mr. S wasn't able to complete his DMP successfully, he expressed deep gratitude to CCS for the support and care we provided to him and his spouse.

In the course of delivering our services, we understand that we may not be able to help every single client reach full settlement in their DMP. However, we remain committed to providing a listening ear, emotional care and support by journeying with them throughout their debt repayment journey.

I strongly believe that our clients appreciate and are grateful for the work we do. This sense of positive and meaningful fulfilment is what drives me to continue working in Credit Counselling Singapore.

Contributed by Adrian Cheow, Credit Counselling Singapore. 

Published 29 September 2023