On Friday, March 11, 2022, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) raided at least seven digital loan companies operating in Lagos over “possible violation” of consumer rights.
The operation led by the commission’s boss, Babatunde Irukera, was in response to several complaints of malpractices on the part of the lenders.
Legit.ng gathers that the lending companies offer short-term loans to help subscribers meet urgent needs.
However, they resort to unprofessional measures of harassment, cyberbullying, and breach of data privacy of their customers who may have defaulted in loan repayment.
Here's the list of the affected loan companies:
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Those eligible for the loans are Nigerian residents between 20 and 55 years old.
GoCash’s physical office is located in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos. It’s specifically in Lekki Phase1, Lagos state.
OKash is owned by Blue Ridge Microfinance Bank Limited. The company said on its profile on Play Store that its loan amount ranges from NGN 3,000 to NGN 500,000.
Okash added that its interest rate is calculated on a daily basis and has an Annual Percentage Rate(APR) ranging from 36.5% to 360%.
Those eligible for the loans are Nigerian residents (20-55 years old) with “source of a monthly income”.
Okash’s physical office is also in Ikeja, Lagos state.
EasyCredit says its lending amount ranges between 3,000 NGN and 100,000 NGN and has the Maximum Annual Percentage Rate(APR) of 40%.
Those eligible for the loans are Nigerian residents (20-60 years old) with “monthly income source”.
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EasyCredit’s physical office is also in Ikeja, Lagos state.
KashKash says its loan ranges from ₦3,000 to ₦200,000 while its annual percentage rate(APR) ranges from 36.5% to 300%.
Those eligible for the loans are Nigerian residents (20-55 years old) with “monthly income source”.
Its office is also in Ikeja, Lagos state.
5. Speedy Choice
Legit.ng cannot find any loan app with the name Speedy Choice on the Google Playstore. The loan app that shows when the name Speedy Choice is typed is Speedy loan.
Legit.ng cannot confirm if the two are the same.
Speedy loan’s feature is similar to others. Loan amount ranges from ₦3,000 to ₦150,000 and those eligible for the loans are Nigerian residents (20-55 years old) with monthly income source.
No office address was provided.
6. Easy Moni
Easy Moni in its profile on Google Playstore claims its "loan-products approved by Microfinance Banking Business registered with CBN and communicated to users during online loan application."
Its loans amounts range from NGN1,500 to NGN80,000 with the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 48%.
Easy Moni's physical office is in Lagos too.
Sokoloan says its own interest ranges from 4.5% to 34% and collects no collateral.
Interested clients can get loans ranging from ₦5,000 to ₦100,000 with terms from 91 to 180 days.
To be eligible for the loans, one must be between 25 and 50 years old and “have a fixed job”.
Sokoloan’s physical office is in Ikeja, Lagos state.
Meanwhile, a report by Premium Times states that six of the seven listed companies, GoCash, Okash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice, Easy Moni, were owned by Blue Ridge Microfinance Bank Limited.
Why FG shut down the loan apps
Babatunde Irukera, the head of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said the reason for the shutdown was the naming and shaming of borrowers and violation of their privacy with respect to how the loans are recovered.
“Secondly the interest factor seems to be a violation of the ethics on how lending is done. So those were the two things that we set out to look for."
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Irukera said lives and reputation of vulnerable Nigerians are threatened or damage by oppressive loan terms & outrageous collection practices.
He vowed that the FCCPC "will hit them in their offices, cloud storage, banks & App Stores", adding that ethical lending is a must.
Giving an update in a statement on Monday, March 14, Irukera said Google LLC and Apple Inc have been directed to take down the apps, among other measures taken by his commission alongside other government agencies.
However, checks by Legit.ng indicate that the apps are still active on Google Play Store at the time of filing this report.
Business as usual
Many Nigerians have also commented that the lending firms have not stopped the harassment despite the FCCPC's action.
Jersey0107, @ajaneakan, said:
"Lcredit, sokoloan these ones are still sending messages threatening victims, I've seen a lot today."
Hirofunshi, @Hirofunshi, said:
"LCredit is the worst of them all. Infact worse than Sokoloan. Special interest should be given to them @lcreditNg."
Royalty favour, @favourroyalty1, said:
"They are still calling and sending threat message even as this operation is going on."
How online loan sharks raided by FG resumed work 6 hours later
Meanwhile, insider information obtained exclusively by Legit.ng says that the digital money lenders raided by the Task Force went back to work six hours later.
According to a source who craved anonymity because she does not want to risk her life and job, immediately the raid happened the management of two of two loan apps, Kash Kash and Okash ‘settled’ those who came to do the raid and started work six hours later.
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“We went back to work immediately. I work in customer service and among those calling debtors and defaulters. I think the management settled those who came to do the raid and allowed us to resume operations.
"As I am talking to you, I have called about 12 people today. The job does not even require onsite activity. We work remotely sometimes and report to the office a few days a week."