Illegal loan apps are modifying their tactics in response to FCCPC delist of 47

In a bid to bypass regulatory investigation, illegal loan apps in Nigeria have adopted a new method to continue their operations despite being delisted from the Google Play Store. 

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) had removed 47 unregistered loan apps from the platform as part of its investigation to curb illegal lending practices. However, many of these apps have turned to using Android Application Packages (APKs) to reach their customers.

APKs allow users to download apps directly via shared links, bypassing the need for official app stores. This tactic has enabled unregistered loan apps to continue their activities, avoiding compliance with FCCPC regulations.

These apps have been notorious for their aggressive and often illegal debt recovery methods, including harassment and defamation of borrowers. By sharing these APK links, the loan apps circumvent the restrictions imposed by the FCCPC and continue to target vulnerable consumers.

Gbemi Adelekan, Chairman of the Money Lenders Association, said these unregistered apps exploit regulatory loopholes to operate freely. He noted that these apps often extend unsolicited loans and use unethical means to recover debts, causing significant distress to borrowers.

In contrast, licensed Digital Money Lenders (DMLs) adhere to the laws and guidelines set by the FCCPC, promoting fair lending practices. Adelekan pointed out that while most licensed DMLs operate ethically, the few unregistered apps damage the industry’s reputation with their unscrupulous tactics.

The FCCPC, under the leadership of Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, is concerned about the rising infractions by these loan apps. In addition to delisting 47 apps, the Commission has placed 88 more on a watchlist and is considering involving law enforcement to address the issue more effectively.

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