The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has registered and approved more digital money lenders, otherwise known as loan apps, bringing the list of approved companies to 211 at the end of October.
The 211 companies comprise 172 that have received full approval from the Commission and 39 others with conditional approval.
As of September this year, the total number of companies that had been fully approved stood at 161, while those with conditional approvals were 40.
The increase indicates that new companies are coming up to secure FCCPC’s approval for the digital lending business amid the battered image of the business over incidences of harassment and defamation of borrowers by some of the lenders.
The resumption of registration of digital money lending apps by the FCCPC after the March 27, 2023 deadline, is also paving the way for more companies to enter the market.
● 84 apps on watchlist
Meanwhile, the number of loan apps under the watchlist of the consumer protection watchdog has also increased from 55 in September to 84 at then of October.
According to the Commission apps under watchlist are those suspected to be engaging in unethical
Some of the apps include Cashlawn App, Easynaira App, Crediting App, Yoyi App, Nut Loan App, Cashpal App, Nairaeasy Gist Loan App, Camelloan App, Nairaloan App, Moneytreefinance Made Easy App, Cashme App, Secucash App, Creditbox App, and Cashmama App. Others Are Crimson Credit App, Galaxy Credit App, Ease Cash App, Xcredit, Imoney, Naira Naija, Imoneyplus-Instant, Nairanaija-Instant, Nownowmoney, Naija Cash, and Getloan.
Aside from those on watchlist, FCCPC said it has, in partnership with Google, delisted a total of 45 loan apps from the Google Play Store. The delisted apps are those found to be operating illegally in the country.
Loan apps registration
The list of approved loan apps is a sequel to the registration exercise started by the FCCPC last year.
According to the Commission, it came up with the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022, in collaboration with the Joint Task Force (JTF) to promote fair, transparent, and beneficial alternative lending opportunities for Nigerians.
The registration was also necessitated by the disturbing activities of loan apps in the country, especially the illegal ones, over allegations of rights violations, and unfair practices, among others.
Some of the loan apps charge interest rates that violate the ethics of how lending is done and are involved in naming and shaming which is a violation of people’s privacy with respect to how these lenders recover loans, among other violations.
In a recent interview with Nairametrics, the Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera said, what Nigeria is currently witnessing regarding the operation of digital lenders is a global challenge.
“Our concern is similar to global challenges with respect to digital lending. Technology is an incredible tool and platform for expansion and shared prosperity, however, it is sadly also a potential tool for exploiting and impoverishing people.
“We are now certain that those who are willing to do business ethically have come within the Framework, while those determined to engage in illegal and abusive conduct find other means,” he said. [Nairametrics]