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

        Question: What motivated you or inspired your decision to join CCS?

A few years ago, I was working in a non-profit organisation which offers a loan & savings scheme.

After my  contract ended , I wanted to help people repay their loan. rather than apply for loans. Through MyCareersFuture, I got to know about the work that Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) do and I subsequently applied for a position.

I have been working with CCS for nearly 2 years. I started as a Case Administrator, which involves preparing proposals to facilitate debt repayment on behalf of clients, after being counselled by financial counsellors.

In 2022, I was given an opportunity to work in Debt Servicing and Support Department. The role is to work closely with clients and support them so they can complete their Debt Management Program (DMP) successfully.

        Question: Share a memorable experience about how you helped a client. What did you say or do? How did the client respond?

I remember a jovial client who always shared about his life experience. One day, I called him for a routine check in.  He was upset and  embarrassed to talk about what was bothering him.

He shared that has a licensed moneylender (LML) debt with outstanding balance of about $30,000. His family scolded him and lost respect for him, with the exception of  his daughter, who was willing to help him by lending him $10,000 to solve the issue.

However, bank debts were still increasing because he was fully committed to pay for his moneylender debt. I assured him that CCS is here to help him. He used to pay more than $1,000 in monthly instalments to the LML and that accounted for nearly half of his monthly salary.

Client shared that he was fearful as collection officers from the LML had visited his office and spoke with his manager. I suggested that CCS may be able to restructure his LML debts under CCS’s Moneylender Debt Management Programme (MDMP) to be repaid over a maximum duration of 2 years, provided he has sufficient payment capacity. He then requested for a review counselling appointment to be assessed.

        Question: How do you unwind or relax after a day at work ? What activities do you like the most? What do you most look forward doing on the weekends?

After work, I will go back home to spend time with my wife. I love to watch movies especially action movies such the James Bond series and Mission Impossible series.

Most of my weekends, I will travel to Johor Bahru for a relaxing time which includes having nice Indian food, going for a massage, have my hair cut and watch a movie.

        Question: What quality do you consider to be the most important for staff working in CCS or for the role that you are currently doing?

The most important trait of staff working in CCS is to communicate and get an understanding of their Clients’ financial situation and background in order to properly understand the client's circumstances.

        Question: What is one piece of advice you would provide to someone who is thinking about working in CCS or the social service industry?

We provide financial guidance and support on managing debt and budgeting.

In order to assist and lend a listening ear to our clients, we should provide guidance so that the client can arrive at a solution with actions he is able to take in the short and long term.

Make regular calls to clients to assess if recent life changes have affected their financial plan.

It is crucial to develop a strong balance of empathy and financial expertise. Understanding the emotional aspects of a client’s situation is as important as providing sound financial guidance.

Contributed by Rajendran Naidu, Credit Counselling Singapore. 

Published 29 December 2023