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FCCPC resumes registration of digital lenders for monitoring, consumer protection

FCCPC approves 154 loan apps, takes action against unethical practices

The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has resumed the registration of Digital Money Lenders (DML) in the country to continue monitoring their activities and enhance consumer protection among other things.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, vice chairman and chief executive officer, FCCPC on Friday.

The commission as part of the Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force (JRETF) on August 18, 2022, introduced a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 as well as an associated registration process/platform, alongside commenced registration.

For already existing DMLS, the guidelines mandated completion of the registration process by November 14, 2022, in order to remain in business and retain privileges of services by providers such as Google Playstore and payment systems or gateways. The Commission extended the deadline to January 31, 2023, and subsequently to March 27, 2023.

“Since acceptance and processing of registration closed, the Commission has continued to be inundated with requests for registration, approval or clearance by both then existing platforms that failed to timely comply with the mandatory deadlines, and new businesses seeking to commence operations,” it stated.

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Consequently, the Commission announced that it will resume receiving and approving eligible DML applications (new and previously inexistent businesses) and requests including those already received and pending in accordance with the Guidelines and existing process. This is while the JRETF continues develop a more robust, comprehensive and enduring digital lending regulatory framework.

Speaking about businesses taken down by Google Playstore, or ceased transaction processing or termination services by payment systems or gateways, the Commission will only consider and process such applications if a statement of justification provides an acceptable reason for failing to conclude or complete the registration before the expiration of the previously set deadline.

“In addition, these applications shall be subject to a late processing fee, this fee should be paid through the Remita platform under the Approval Fee section,” it adds.

Furthermore, financial institutions that are licensees, and subject to the regulatory oversight of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are exempt, and may obtain the required approval by a written request seeking a waiver by demonstrating such exemption, including evidence of licensure by the CBN.

FCCPC noted that there has been a substantial reduction in practices that violate consumer privacy, constitute harassment and unacceptable unconventional loan repayment/recovery strategies, as well as unexplained charges associated with loans however they still exist.

“The Commission and JRETF continues to monitor the market and enforce the law with respect to digital lending and welcomes continued consumer vigilance in reporting incidents of infringement for appropriate regulatory responses,” it said.