The Federal Government, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, has given digital money lenders five days to demonstrate that they are following the rules. It also requested that Google remove 18 digital lenders from the Play Store for violating its policies. Compliance with the FCCPC’s rules was now mandatory, and refusal to do so constituted a violation of the law, according to the FCCPC.
The 18 digital money lenders that the commission delisted and asked Google to remove were either operating without regulatory approval or in contravention of the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (Guidelines).
It stated that only digital money lenders who had undergone regulatory examination and compliance as indicated by official approval from it were permitted to operate on Playstore.
The FCCPC stated at the time that “in the course of the commission’s continuing investigation and tracking of these illegally operating digital money lenders, the commission has discovered duplicity by at least two otherwise legally registered digital money lenders on the commission’s approval list.”
On Wednesday, the FCCPC delisted 16 more lending institutions and requested that Google remove them as well. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, announced this in a statement. He noted that digital money lenders operating on the Playstore or in any other format must follow its criteria.
“Accordingly, the commission has entered a further order requiring Google to immediately remove, withdraw, or drawdown the following apps:” the FCCPC added, listing the banned apps.
“Getloan, Joy Cash-Loan Up to 1,000,000, Camelloan, Cashlawn, Nairaloan, Eaglecash, Moneytreefinance Made Easy, Luckyloan Personal Loan, Cashme, Easynaira, Swiftcas, Crediting, Swiftkash, Hen Credit loan, Nut loan, Cashdoor, Cashpal, and Nairaeasy gist loan.”
It was stated that some digital money lenders were using Android Package Kits file formats to reach consumers outside of the Google Play store to bypass or avoid regulatory compliance.
It confirmed that compliance with its requirements was required for any digital money lenders, regardless of whether they wanted to be posted on Playstore, operate using APK file formats, or through any other ways.
Irukera remarked in response to a plan to penalise more erring apps, “Compliance with the guidelines is mandatory for all DMLs regardless of whether they intend to be placed on Playstore, operate via APK file formats, or any other means. Failure to follow the Guidelines is a breach of the law, making any such operation illegal.
“Digital Money Lenders operating through any means or platforms are hereby required to provide evidence of compliance with the guidelines within five days of the date of this release.”
“In addition, all existing and approved DMLs providing digital lending services through APK file formats in addition to Playstore must provide evidence that such APK operations are lawful.”
He stated that all previously certified digital money lenders, as well as all other types of lenders, must revalidate their information with the commission. Infractions or violations of its guidelines, he added, could result in permanent delisting and prohibition, as well as legal action, including prosecution.