The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is planning to ask Google to permanently delete from its play store loan apps who engage in harassing borrowers.
FCCPC will be taking decisive action to protect consumers from the unethical practices of certain loan apps.
The CEO of FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera has made this known during a television interview that loan apps have continued to harass and defame defaulting customers in disregard of FCCPC’s regulations. He noted that there won’t be any second chance if any loan app is discovered to have harassed or defamed customers.
In his words, “What we are seeing is that there are stories emerging of these digital lenders engaging in inappropriate conduct especially the investigative story from nairametrics. Our concern is if these lenders we’ve approved are still doing it, even if they do it just for once, we will permanently delete them from the Google play store. As we discover them, we go after them.
“There are things they can do wrong where they will be given a second chance but with respect to harassing consumers or defamatory messages there will be no second chance.”
Mr Irukera noted that the FCCPC has received reports from the public but hopes to establish validity of the report before taking action.
Loan apps have regulation to follow
When quizzed further if the FCCPC can put license to these digital lending apps such that if they don’t show such licenses, Google should not accept them on its play store, the FCCPC boss responded that the organisation already has what it calls Limited and interim regulatory framework that these loan sharks are mandated to abide by.
He recalled the organisation’s partnership with Google wherein only 180 loan apps were approved to be hosted on the Google playstore.
Using artificial intelligence to verify credit worthiness of potential borrowers
On the possibility of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to determine the credit-worthiness of potential borrowers, Mr Irukera said, “The artificial intelligence space is still new with great potential in business. We will welcome the use of technology and innovation to improve efficiency.”
The FCCPC boss also stated the commission has contacts on its website where people can report any form of harassment and the issue will be addressed as soon as possible.
Recall that the Federal government and loan apps have been having a running battle over harassment, defamation of defaulters and other unethical conduct by these online loan apps. This battle culminated in the barring of some loan sharks from Google play store.
In 2022, the FCCPC in partnership with the Joint Task Force (JTF) introduced the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending in 2022 and the approval of 173 loan apps that have promised to abide by its regulations.Follow us on social media