Loan shark activities continue in Nigeria despite government crackdown

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The battle against loan sharks in Nigeria by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) may be far from over as loan apps continue their blackmail and life invasion activities deprived of their customers.

While many Nigerians have also made a habit of taking loans from these platforms with no intention of repaying, the loan sharks aggressively push for collection by any means possible, including messaging all borrower contacts, describing them as “thieves who should be arrested on sight.”

However, this unhealthy practice is unique to unlicensed lenders. Legitimate individuals licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) use the official channel by reporting defaulters to the Credit Bureau, which in turn blacklists the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of such individuals, thereby preventing them from being delinquent. obtain loans from any other financial institution. in the country.

Last Thursday, the FCPC called on Google to remove lending apps Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha, and SoftPay from the Play Store for engaging in unethical practices and consumer privacy. At the time of filing this report, all apps except SoftPay have been removed from the App Store. But there are hundreds more who have continued their business without a hitch.

Past

  • Late last year, the federal government, through the FCCPC had moved to check out some of the illegal, unsound and unfair practices in the money lending industry.
  • The committee, which received more than 500 emails and information regarding the investigation, was expected, through its activities, to lead efforts to combat multiple potentially questionable behaviors by some lenders, otherwise known as loan sharks.
  • The FCCPC, as part of its sweeping orders against unlicensed and illegal online money lending banks, subsequently ordered them to stop accruing compound interest and loan collection practices that make currently under investigation.
  • Nairametrics also reported that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) served sweeping orders on Google LLC (Play Store) and Apple Inc. (App Store) to enforce the removal of certain apps. lending money from their stores.

Blackmail and threats against defaulters continue

Sharing a message sent to her this week by one of the lending apps, a customer said she was threatened by XCash because she owed the platform even though she planned to pay her debt.

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  • The loan application message said: “This is going to shock you today!” We will begin almost immediately with a parsed and detailed messaging of all phone contacts fully granted and viewed during your loan application registration and link to your social media handles with attachments of your registered emergency contacts , photos taken during registration and taken from your social media platforms, national ID card, BVN marked with an asterisk against public denial and some photos of family members taken from social networks. You were expected to abide by the policy agreement and fulfill everything in accord but you have decided to breach the contract and activate the sanction part of the contract which is signed with Nigeria Interpol as a FRAUD CASE.
  • Today is your last day!!! From XCash Management.
  • Another lending app called LCredit, in a message to one of its defaulting customers, wrote: “Since all methods of getting your payment have been cancelled, we have no choice but to raise awareness on social media by letting people know about you by 1pm today.”
  • Another lending app, GoCash, in a message sent to one of its defaulting customers wrote: “Prepare to be dishonored…with your picture before noon. Your case is here in the legal department, I will make you cry if you don’t pay the N40,360 you owe by 12pm today, take my word for it.

In many cases, apps send defamatory messages to all defaulters’ contacts because borrowers are coerced into granting their apps access to contacts during signup.

Borrow without intention to repay

As the government plays its part in ensuring that online lending activity is sanitized and customer privacy is respected, the results show that many users of these platforms take out loans across all platforms. with no intention of paying them back.

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  • According to a coordinator of one of the loan shark advocacy groups, who preferred not to be named, it’s a challenge that has made it difficult to tackle illegal lending platforms.
  • “Just because the government is fighting for us doesn’t mean we have to keep borrowing. Many take out loans with no intention of paying. No matter how sweet it all seems, taking out loans with no intention of repaying is a crime and the government will one day come looking for people who do,” he said.
  • Advising Nigerians to stop taking loans from loan sharks, he added: “I’ve said it time and time again, we should all steer clear of loan sharks. I know things are tough, but you’ll complicate your life even more if you subject yourself to habitual borrowing, especially from loan sharks. loan sharks.

Conclusion

Meanwhile, reports from India have indicated that Nigeria is not the only country battling the threat of loan sharks. Google announced on Thursday that it has removed more than 2,000 personal loan apps from its Play Store in India and is working to make some changes to its policy at a time when the local central bank is increasingly cracking down on predatory practices.

Google and dozens of other companies have been working to crack down on predatory lending apps in India that have been found to charge exorbitant fees to customers in some cases and push ethical boundaries in their collection efforts. Some companies are also reportedly using the lending activity to launder money for Chinese companies.

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