The Federal Competition and Consumer Agency has been given the order by the Federal Competition and Consumer Agency to Google Play Store to pull down four companies that lend money because of “escalating unethical, obnoxious and unscrupulously exploitative practices in the industry.”
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The companies that are affected by the money lending crisis include Maxi Credit, ChaCha, Here4U and SoftPay the statement was signed by Babatunde Irukera, the commission’s Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Irukera issued the order in an enforcement exercise in the Ikeja the Ikeja area of Lagos on Thursday.
In March, he led in a similar investigationto combat “possible violation” of consumer rights. Seven loan firms, including Soko Loan were raided.
The head of the commission said that certain lending companies, such as Soko Loan who have been the subject of an investigation “have come up with strategies to capitalize on the latest technology and options in financial services to avoid accounts being frozen and suspension of app orders.
“With the operations today, the Commission expects appreciable additional reduction in these unacceptable practices.”
Directives on the use of money lending services
“The Commission has entered further orders to Google Play Store to draw down the following (money lending) apps which were discovered to be created and operating as a circumvention of existing investigative interventions; Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha and SoftPay,” the statement reads.
“For apps not on the Play Store, the Commission continues to trace what platforms they are hosted on in order to disable them; the Commission invites any information from the public in this regard.”
The Commission also directed all payment systems operating, including Flutterwave Opay, Paystack and Monify to cease immediately offering payment or transaction services to firms that lend money that are under investigation, or seek approval from the commission.
“The Commission has also ordered telecommunication/ technology companies (including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist providing server/hosting or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed or known lenders who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval,” the document reads.
Mr. Irukera declared that a new regulatory framework that promotes the fairness of “transparent and mutually beneficial alternative lending opportunities apart from traditional lending to consumers” is now in place.
“It requires permission to proceed in digital lending; it provides a limited moratorium period for existing businesses to comply in order to continue in digital lending,” he explained.
“The Guidelines also mandate different (money lending) service providers in the relevant ecosystem (such as banks, access/download platforms or stores, technology providers and payment systems) to require regulatory approval before providing services.”
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