Up close and personal with Nicky Lala-Mohan

Nicky Lala-Mohan has been appointed as the new Credit Ombud. No stranger to the office , having previously headed the Credit Ombud’s Council as its chairperson, he will officially take over the reins from Manie van Schalkwyk, the current Ombud, on 1 February 2015 when his contract comes to an end.

Nicky first stepped into the credit industry more than 2 decades ago and has plied his trade mostly within the banking sphere. He has held various positions within Standard Bank and has been with the Banking Association for 11 years.

1. How did you end up in the credit industry, and was it always your intention to be in the industry?
Credit and Consumer Law was always a passion, and as such I was always keen to get involved in projects related thereto. During my early days as a junior legal advisor at Standard Bank Credit Card Division, I become exposed to the commercial application of credit and it piqued my interest to the extent that I specialised in that aspect of law and commerce.

2. What is one of the most memorable projects you have been involved in, in the history of your career?
The shaping of the National Credit Act from the policy paper right through to its promulgation and amendments was memorable. Also my chairmanship of the Consumer Affairs Committee of the International Banking Federation (a federation of banking associations from around the world) was a highlight. We may all live in different places but seemingly all have the same issues to face and sort out.

3. What have been some of the highlights of working in the industry?
Working in the industry has allowed me to develop a multitude of contacts whom I can call upon if the need arises. Highlights include my role on the various Ombudsman Boards that I have sat on to promote alternative dispute resolution. The various parliamentary hearings on various bills also gave me an insight as to how parliament works – seeing democracy in action and to be a part of it was amazing.The friendship and camaraderie built up over time in chairing various Committees was also special.

4. If you could choose again, what career would you follow?
When I was young I always wanted to be a pilot, but the apartheid laws did not make that possible. Given the chance I would love to fulfil my dream of being a pilot.

5. What do you do to relax?
I love reading, listening to Jazz music and socialising with friends and family. Nothing beats a good morning walk somewhere surrounded by beautiful scenery. That relaxes me. Cooking with a glass of wine also relaxes me.

6. Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Locally I love any game reserve. Overseas, I would say London and New York. I love the vibe and the energy, the people, the food, etc.

7. Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban and why?
I love Joburg. It is so cosmopolitan, easy to get to and very scenic in some places. We have a natural man-made forest just outside the CBD. Joburgers are real. What you see is what you get. Of course Cape Town is cool for its beautiful scenery and Durban for its lovely beaches that you can actually swim at.

8. What are you currently reading?
I have just returned from the Herman Charles Bosman festival in Groot Marico and I am catching up with some Oom Schalk Lourens stories by Herman Charles Bosman. Having visited the Marico, I now read it with context.

9. Which artist/album/song is currently playing in your car?
I love Bob Marley and am currently listening to all his albums which I have.

10. What is your favourite quote or saying of all time?
”The more you give, the more you get”.