SEC warns influencers pushing illegal online lenders

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a new batch of shutdown orders to stop a seemingly endless wave of unlicensed online lenders, whose rise has been fueled by unwitting victims and social media influencers.

The SEC said in a statement that the Commission En Banc on March 22 issued immediate cease and desist orders against six companies, bringing the total number of closure orders against online lending applications to 72. line.

The six companies found guilty of breaking the law were PesoKwento, Pondo Cash, TBAG, Cash Sky, Loan Cash and East Cash.

The SEC said the companies were unregistered and therefore operating illegally without the necessary certificates of authority to operate as loan companies.

The business regulator further warned their representatives and promoters to offer or advertise their business “via the Internet or any other media, and to remove any material implying this.”

Online loan applications allow borrowers to make loans of a few thousand pesos with minimal requirements. Some lenders also require access to borrowers’ locations, contact lists and their devices, based on reviews written by online personalities.

Access to sensitive personal data has also led to unfair collection practices and harassment, including threats to “ruin their reputation and cause physical harm to their people and families”.

The SEC said it has received complaints from some borrowers about such practices.

“Abusive collection practices, misrepresentations and unreasonable conditions perpetrated and imposed by online lending operators, their agents and representatives are the very acts and practices that, as a matter of principle, the state seeks to prevent and sanction” , the Commission said. says En Banc.

Recognizing the scale of the problem, the SEC said it would create a financing and lending division “which aims to focus exclusively on the regulation and supervision of such companies.” In the same statement, SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino pledged to step up the fight against abusive loan companies.

It also has an online team that regularly monitors complaints and “goes through different social media platforms to check for possible abusive or illegal lending practices”.

Aquino, in a report to the Treasury Department, said the SEC had revoked more than 2,000 certificates of registration from loan companies that had failed to obtain their required certificates of authority.

The SEC had also revoked the licenses of 37 finance or loan companies due to various violations of applicable rules and regulations.

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