July 15, 2024

Govt to shut online banks pestering debtors

Govt to shut online banks pestering debtors

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has said it will delist any loan application harassing customers and ask Google to permanently delete such apps from its app store.

This was in response to the continued harassment and defamation being meted on Nigerians by these digital lenders. It was also the newest measure implemented by the Federal Government to protect Nigerians from the activities of these digital lenders.

Earlier in the year, the FCCPC mandated loan apps to register with it. So far, 180 apps had got full or conditional approval from the commission to operate in the country. Google also recently announced that loan apps would not be allowed on its app store without regulatory approval.

In April, Google announced that loan apps on Play Store would lose their ability to access users’ contacts or photos from May 31, 2023.

Despite this, loan apps have continued to harass customers.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said the commission was ready to permanently shut down the activities of these apps.

He told The PUNCH, “We have read the stories. But we have to investigate to make sure that the evidence truly exists.

“The consequence of this, they know it, is that if any of these defamatory messages or harassments goes out again, they will be delisted, and we will ask Google to take them down permanently. But we can’t take that kind of step without knowing for sure because what we’ve found is that the loan apps that are still doing those things are not on Google.”

He explained that many apps harassing customers had names like registered ones. He noted, “Most of the complaints we’ve received about these things show that the companies are not on our list/ Google. They are the ones who are using WhatsApp, APK, and other softer, below-the-radar channels to engage consumers.”

Irukera advised consumers to only take loans from approved loan apps since they were easier to find and sanction.

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