Finance and fintech associations support the fight against harassment of debtors by online lenders

FINANCIAL BODIES said they support a National Privacy Commission (NPC) crackdown on online lenders collecting excessive information from app users to use to shame applicants in cases of non-payment.

The Fintech Alliance.PH and the Philippine Finance Association said creditworthiness can be determined legally with reasonable data disclosures by applicants.

Online lenders must ‘refrain from exploiting borrowers by using borrowers’ personal data to shame them and coerce them into paying their loans through unauthorized and unfair use of their personal data,’ the groups said on Wednesday. in a press release.

Last month, the NPC ordered the immediate removal of four online lending apps that were the subject of complaints for alleged unauthorized use of personal data.

Borrowers have complained that online lending apps JuanHand, Pesopop, CashJeep and Lemon Loan used users’ personal data to harass them to collect debts. The companies operating the apps are being investigated for breaching data protection law.

Financial groups said online lenders must comply with the law, adding that using mobile app permissions to store customer contact lists and photo galleries is unnecessary and unreasonable.

“We call on these non-compliant lending entities to use lawful and reasonable methods to assess the creditworthiness of loan applicants as well as in debt collection practices respecting the rights of data subjects without resorting to unfair debt collection practices. and harassment of borrowers such as using slurs or profane language, violent threats or misrepresentations and unnecessarily exposing their borrowers’ personal data to unauthorized persons,” the groups said.

The NPC investigates over 200 online loan applications available for download. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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