New Delhi, Nov 26: People trapped in excessive debt of bank loans and credit cards, can now look forward to restart their lives with the help of Disha- financial counselling centres- which will assist them to pro-actively manage their debt via out-of-court procedures based on agreed repayment plans between the creditors and debtors.
Disha Financial Counselling, set up under the aegis of ICICI Trusteeship Services Limited, will provide financial education, credit counselling and debt management services to consumers through centres at Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Ludhiana and Mumbai.
The services are available absolutely free and to all, irrespective of the Bank the customer deals with.
''We realized that there has been an increase in personal consumption over the years in India and at times people get affected by unexpected developments where they have to strain themselves financially to meet their obligations. Setting up Disha was the perfect solution; wherein one-to-one counselling and financial advice can be offered to customers,'' Executive Director, ICICI Bank Mr Vaidyanathan was quoted in a press release.
Proper use of consumer credit and basic money-management skills such as saving and budgeting along with tips on using credit responsibly can also be availed of by the customers at these financial planning outlets, he added.
The counsellors at these centres are retired banking personnel who work on a voluntary basis. They will conduct one-on-one sessions with those who come seeking Disha's services, like financially distressed borrowers.
The counsellors guide consumers who have fallen into a debt trap, showing them ways of reducing and eliminating their debt and regaining control of their financial affairs. They create repayment options and solutions for honest borrowers, sometimes collaborating with both borrower and lender.
Disha is also participating in trade fairs and exhibitions like IITF in Delhi and the Business India Money Show in Mumbai and Bangalore.
In terms of services, Disha aims at providing information on various new-age financial products like credit cards and personal loans and imparting basic money-management skills like saving, budgeting and investing, the pros and cons of credit cards, loans and various such credit facilities and will guide consumers on dealing with financial crises.
Disha will also helps consumers in cases of customer-service lapses by banks.
Consumers may walk-in to any Disha office. The addresses and phone numbers are available at www.dishafc.org. Disha is also planning to open centres in Bangalore, Jaipur, Kochi and Kolkata.
Moreover, counselling is available even over the phone, if consumers is from cities that do not have a Disha centre, through an all-India helpline by sending DISHA as an SMS to 53030 (and the counsellors will call you back) or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.