Google Play will strengthen the filtering of lending applications

Tech giant Google is adopting a tougher approval process for online lending apps in the Philippines, as recommended by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as part of efforts to crack down on illegal lending practices and abusive.

Starting May 11, Google will require developers offering personal loans in the Philippines to submit a personal loan application statement and submit necessary documentation before they can publish applications to the Google Play Store.

In the declaration form, developers must declare that they are registered with and duly authorized by the SEC Philippines to operate an online lending platform (OLP), or to engage in crowdfunding activities based on lending, such as peer-to-peer lending, or acting as a crowdfunding intermediary.

Additionally, developers must confirm that they are engaged in a lawful business activity and are doing so in accordance with applicable laws.

Personal loan apps operating in the Philippines without proper licensing and attribution will be removed from the Play Store. In the event that the license, registration or statement submitted is no longer valid under applicable laws, developers are required to promptly remove the application from the Google Play Store.

Republic Act No. 9474, or the Regulation of Loan Companies Act of 2007, requires persons or entities operating as loan companies to register as companies and obtain the necessary authorization from the SEC to operate.

Republic Act No. 8556, or the Finance Companies Act of 1998, also requires finance companies to register with the SEC as corporations and obtain, separately from the Commission, licensure. operate as such.

Under SEC Memorandum Circular No. 19, Series of 2019, the Commission further requires finance and loan companies to register their PLOs as trade names, as well as disclose their corporate names, registration numbers with SEC and authority certificate numbers in their PLOs and advertisements. .

In November 2021, however, the Commission imposed a moratorium on new PLOs while it drafted guidelines on registration and licensing of PLOs. Under SEC Memorandum Circular No. 10, Series of 2021, only those registered as of November 2, 2021 may operate and be used for online lending or financing, subject to strict supervision.

“We thank Google for supporting our efforts to combat illegal and predatory lending, thereby preserving the integrity of the financing and lending industry, and providing Filipinos with safe and accessible financing options,” said the chairman of the company. SEC, Emilio B. Aquino.

“We are confident that the additional requirements, imposed by Google on developers of personal loan applications targeting users in the Philippines, will serve as an additional layer of protection for Filipino borrowers and a deterrent against predatory lending.”

The SEC has been in correspondence with Google since May 2019 to address the proliferation of unregistered personal loan applications. In addition to flagging and demanding the removal of unlicensed lending apps from the Google Play Store, the Commission has directed the US tech giant to verify the legitimacy of lending and finance companies seeking to develop and publish their apps.

The Philippines is only the third country where Google will introduce additional requirements for personal loan app developers to curb the proliferation of illegal and abusive online lending activities, the other two being India and India. Indonesia.

The SEC regularly monitors lending and finance companies for compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, with the goal of protecting borrowers from abusive, unethical and illegal lenders.

To date, the Commission has revoked the certificates of registration of more than 2,000 finance and finance companies, which have failed to obtain their required CAs, and canceled the CAs of 37 finance and loan companies due to various violations of applicable rules and regulations.

In addition, the Commission ordered 72 PLOs to cease their activities for lack of authorization to operate as loan or finance companies.

To view the list of approved loan and finance companies and their registration status, please visit the Loan and Finance Company Corner on the SEC website at https://www.sec.gov.ph/ lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/sociétés-de-loan-et-sociétés-de-finance. (PR)

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