Loan Apps: Why Online Lenders Can No Longer Harass Debtors and their Contacts, FG Reveals

Loan Apps: Why Online Lenders Can No Longer Harass Debtors and their Contacts, FG Reveals

  • Loan app owners in Nigeria have been aggressively harassing their customers and their contacts, making loan repayment difficult due to high-interest rates
  • The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) has begun regulating the operations of loan app companies, sensitizing the public against the illegal operators
  • The FCCPC has licensed 173 loan apps to operate, and they can no longer harass customers, contact their contact lists, or increase interest rates arbitrarily

The activities of loan apps owners across Nigeria have recently become a major source of worry to Nigerians.

Many Nigerians fell to the temptation of taking loans to address their financial challenges. This is chiefly because of their poor understanding of the loan apps' modus operandi.

FCCPC/Online Lenders/Loan Apps
FCCPC says loan apps companies can no longer harass their customers. Photo credit: @fccpcnigeria
Source: Twitter

But soon, the aggressive nature of these loan apps started manifesting when they began to confront their customers, bombarding them with calls and confronting even those on their contact lists.

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What loan apps did to Nigerians

Nigerians who took loans from these loan apps were not the only ones being harassed. Those linked to them one way or the other were often threatened for no just reasons or possibly for knowing or working with their client.

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Repayment of loans was becoming very difficult because of the high-interest rates.

Legit.ng observes that many Nigerians had at a time considered the operation of these loan apps as illegal and had charged the government to impose an outright ban on them.

At this point, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) swung into action and began sensitizing the public against loan app companies. The FCCPC also began clampdowns on owners of the app, who mostly don't operate from the country.

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Since the clampdown began, the activities of the loan app companies have reduced, despite a pocket of some operating in defiance of the criteria set for their operations.

Loan apps: FCCPC spokesman Ondaje Ijagwu speaks

Speaking exclusively with Legit.ng, Ondaje Ijagwu, the spokesman of the FCCPC, said the council decided to regulate their operations as against shutting them completely because some of them have met the criteria for their operations.

He also said that it would be an injustice to some of them operating genuinely and to people who find them useful in the aspect of loans, especially people on the last row of the ladder.

Ondaje said:

"This is mostly about people on the last row of the ladder. Anybody who does not have the collateral to collect a loan goes there because you can actually obtain a loan without collateral. That was why we decided to regulate it."

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Regarding the number of loan apps allowed to operate under the new regulation, Ondaje said 173 are currently and officially operating in line with the FCCPC act.

"And now that we are regulating it, we now have 173 operating. Out of the 173, the very notorious ones are part of them. What that means is that the 173 will no longer do what they used to do," he said.

What loan apps can no longer do, Ondaje reveals

Speaking further, Ondaje highlighted the (illegal) activities the operators can no longer engage in.

His words:

"They can't call out a customer, they can't contact your contact list, and they can't even access your contacts and begin to bombard them with calls. A lot of sanity has been brought in. Yes, there are those ones who are defiant. Let me say that this thing is technology. So you don't even need to be based in Nigeria to be able to reach your customer base. Some of the owners are in China, they are in India, in Bangladesh, etc."

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Media has a role to play, says Ondaje

Ondaje added that the media has a role to play to completely stop the illegal activities of some loan apps owners.

"At least, we tried our best to get at least a hundred and something. What we are saying specifically for the media is to enlighten the public; that look, we have those ones that have been licensed.
"They have been licensed to undertake these services, so they have signed an undertaking and they can never go outside whatever undertaking they signed with us.
"They can't now harass customers like they used to do. They can't increase their interest rate arbitrarily. Imagine people will borrow like N30,000, and sometimes they will ask them to pay a hundred and something at the end of the day. All of those, we have eliminated those ones registered.
"The ones that are still renegade, now that Google is collaborating with us, they can't use Google any longer. These guys can no longer operate freely like they used to do. Those ones still doing those things don't have apps on the play store."

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FG releases updated list of approved digital money lenders and Banks in Nigeria

Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the FCCPC released a new list and added about 173 companies approved to operate as loan apps and digital money lenders.

The development follows the March 27, 2023, deadline given by the FCCPC for registering the companies.

About 119 of the companies received full approval, and 54 got conditional approval pending when they fulfill other terms and conditions set by the Commission.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Nurudeen Lawal avatar

Nurudeen Lawal (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) Nurudeen Lawal is an AFP-certified journalist with a wealth of experience spanning over 8 years. He received his B/Arts degree in Literature-in-English from OAU. Lawal is the Head of the Politics/CA Desk at Legit.ng, where he applies his expertise to provide incisive coverage of events. He was named the Political Desk Head of the Year (Nigeria Media Nite-Out Award 2023). He is also a certified fact-checker (Dubawa fellowship, 2020). Contact him at lawal.nurudeen@corp.legit.ng or +2347057737768.

Adoyi Ali avatar

Adoyi Ali Ali Adoyi is a prolific writer and a graduate of the Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State. Adoyi holds a B.A Theatre and Communications Arts. He has bagged many awards both in academics and in journalism. Some of the awards are 10 years Journalism Merit Award, Best graduating student (Dept) Most Outstanding student (Faculty), and others. Adoyi can be reached here: adoyi.ali@corp.legit.ng

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