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FG updates list of approved digital lenders, delists firms over illegal practices

FG updates list of approved digital lenders, delists firms over illegal practices
July 20
21:50 2023

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it has updated its list of registered and approved digital money lenders (DMLs) to avoid illegal practices.

The commission spoke in a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, chief executive officer (CEO) of FCCPC, on Thursday.

The FCCPC said it observed a resurgence in the occurrence of prohibited loan recovery methods and practices in the past weeks.

“The commission’s investigations and continuing surveillance demonstrate that the vast majority of the resurging infringements are not by otherwise approved/listed DMLs approved to be on Playstore and other financial services providers,” the statement reads.

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“The violating DMLs have resorted to the use of Android Package Kits (APK) file formats. The illegal DMLs provide links to consumers to visit unregistered websites using their Android devices/phones.

“In the course of that interaction, consumers’ private information that is otherwise protected and prohibited from access or download by DMLs or their apps is accessed and downloaded.

“This conduct is prohibited by sundry laws, particularly relevant data privacy protection instruments, and more specifically, the limited interim regulatory/registration framework and guidelines for digital lending 2020 of the commission.”

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‘REGISTERED MONEY LENDERS ENGAGING IN ILLEGAL PRACTICES’

FCCPC identified Sycamore Integrated Solutions Limited and Purple Credit Limited as major threat actors.

The commission said in its investigation and tracking of the illegally operating DMLs, it discovered “duplicity by at least two otherwise legally registered DMLs on the commission’s approval list”.

“The nature of the duplicity is that the DMLs having been approved and placed on the approved list and Playstore, as well as cleared for services by other financial services/institutions, as an alternate channel, and method of engaging in prohibited conduct, also engaged in the use of APK to attract borrowers to a process and practice that is illegal and unregulated,” the agency said.

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“The companies or apps so far identified, and for which there is supporting evidence of this malfeasance are Sycamore Integrated Solutions Limited and Orange Loan and Purple Credit Limited. They are the owners of ‘Getloan’ and ‘Camel Loan’ respectively, and occupy Nos. 1 and 65 on the approved list of the commission, which is available on the commission’s website.

“Accordingly, the commission has now permanently delisted Sycamore Integrated Solutions Limited and Orange Loan and Purple Credit Limited, along with their respective apps — Get Loan and Camel Loan.

“In addition, the commission has entered an order to Google Playstore and other payment and financial service providers, permanently prohibiting the provision of any services associated with digital lending to Sycamore Integrated Solutions Limited and Orange Loan and Purple Credit Limited.”

The commission further said violators such as the identified ones, would have their companies permanently revoked “without option or opportunity of reconsideration”. 

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FCCPC said the companies will also be transferred to law enforcement agencies and or any other relevant regulators.

The commission also said DMLs that have refused or failed to register under the guidelines were placed on its watchlist for strict surveillance and necessary action.

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“The commission will continue to scrutinise listed DMLS and periodically update the list to ensure only businesses that consistently and completely comply with the spirit and intention of the regulatory framework are allowed to do business legally in Nigeria,” agency said.

FCCPC, however, urged the public to exercise restraint and discretion in selecting DMLS, adding that only DMLs on the commission’s approved list should be patronised.

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