•Harassment, defamation not option for debt recovery, Commission warns
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has expressed worries over continuous violation of its Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines by online lenders popularly known as loan apps.
FCCPC, 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.
Abdullahi noted that the resort to harassment and defamation may have been triggered by the rising number of defaulting customers.
He warned that violating the Commission’s regulation by using unethical means for debt recovery is not an option for the lenders.
As such, he said the Commission would now intensify its enforcement efforts to ensure that the digital lenders are complying with its regulation.
While checks showed that as of December 2023, FCCPC had registered and approved 211 digital lenders, Abdullahi 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 utilise 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.”
According to him, 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.