THE Federal Government, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has given full approval to 119 loan apps and conditional approval to 54 others.
The approval is to enable the loan apps to operate in the country.
The FCCPC introduced the ‘Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022’ to regulate the digital lending space and make registration and approval a prerequisite for companies seeking to operate in the space.
Loan apps act as platforms where subscribers can get quick loans with no collateral other than providing a bank verification number (BVN) and a request to allow pictures and contacts on a potential customer’s phone.
The apps are primarily unregulated in Nigeria, and debt collectors have devised methods to punish defaulting borrowers into repaying their debts.
Online loan fintech companies have developed crude strategies to recover their funds. Sometimes they send WhatsApp and text messages to every contact on their customer’s phones, claiming they are debtors and fraudsters.
Intermittent threatening phone calls are also part of their strategies.
Sometimes they use threatening messages like, “Pay our money, or we shall report you to all your contacts”,” Last warning: Pay up, or we lock you up,” ‘You have nowhere to run to; we are monitoring you,” Etc.
The ICIR has earlier done a detailed report, “Illegal loan apps’ victims’ form groups to seek retribution, vow not to repay’. Read it HERE.
The FCCPC has taken several steps to control the activities and excesses of illegal loan apps.
In a chat with The ICIR on Thursday, March 23, the spokesperson for FCCPC, Ondaje Ijagwu, said the Commission has come up with a ‘Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022’ to regulate the digital lending space and make registration and approval a prerequisite for companies seeking to operate in the area.
Ijagwu said the FCCPC have carried out intermittent raids on the premises of digital lenders to control and restrict their activities.
“We visited different outlets within Lagos; we got to know their whereabouts and made arrests.
“What we did was in conjunction with other agencies like the ICPC, NITDA and CBN.
“We came up with an Interim Regulations/Registration framework for Digital Lending. It is a body of guidelines. This is pending the introduction of a substantial regulation,” he said.
He said this interim regulation framework has helped to register loan apps to monitor their activities properly.
The FCCPC spokesman asked Nigerians who have complaints against any loan app operator to send a mail to email@example.com.
Nigerians can access the updated list of approved loan apps can HERE.