FCCPC expresses concern as loan apps continue to violate its regulation

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has expressed concern about what it sees as an increase in digital lenders, often known as loan applications, breaking its Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines.

The Commission in a statement signed by its Acting Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, said the infractions have been on the rise as more Nigerians are now taking loans from the various loan apps. It noted that the resort to harassment and defamation may have been triggered by the rising number of defaulting customers.

It, however, said violating its regulation by using unethical means for debt recovery should not be an option for the lenders.

While noting that the Commission would now intensify its enforcement efforts to ensure that the digital lenders are complying with its regulation, Dr Abdullahi in the statement released on Monday, said:

“The Commission understands the increased demand for loans during this time of year, leading to an increased risk of default due to large numbers and typical cash flow challenges and constraints.

“However, the solution cannot be to violate the law or utilize unethical recovery methods. As such, the Commission is intensifying enforcement efforts and adopting a zero-tolerance stance towards any exploitation of consumers or abusive conduct, whether in balance calculations, loan default enforcement, or recovery processes.

“In addition, in the coming days, the Commission will be engaging approved loan apps concerning a more robust compliance framework including any additional requirements where applicable, and possible mechanisms for otherwise blacklisted apps.”

The FCCPC CEO said the Commission would welcome demonstrated and timely compliance by all legitimate operators to promote and enhance fairness to consumers and fairness among competitors. On operators that do not possess the Commission’s approval, he said the scrutiny process would include law enforcement action against such, in addition to regulatory prohibition and consequences.

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The FCCPC under the leadership of Babatunde Irukera had come up with the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022, in collaboration with the Joint Task Force (JTF) to promote fair, transparent, and beneficial alternative lending opportunities for Nigerians.

The registration was also necessitated by the disturbing activities of loan apps in the country, especially the illegal ones, over allegations of rights violations, and unfair practices, among others.

However, in recent times, there have also been concerns over the growing rate of defaulting by borrowers from loan apps. While many of the borrowers are blaming their inability to repay on the high interest rates charged by the loan apps, the platforms–even the registered ones are now using all means, including unethical practices to recover their debt.

As of December last year, a total of 211 digital lenders have been registered and approved by the Commission and the number is still growing.

Credit: Nairametrics