Google tightens lending app filtering to fight loan sharks

After SEC recommendations, tech giant adds layers of paperwork for online lenders if they want to stay on Google Play

MANILA, Philippines — Google is tightening its approval process for online lending applications based in the Philippines to curb the activities of loan sharks.

Google, as recommended by the Securities and Exchange Commission, will now require developers of apps offering loans to submit a personal loan application statement and indicate that they have the necessary documents from the SEC before they can publish apps on the Google Play Store.

Developers must also demonstrate that they have the authority to perform lending-based crowdfunding activities, such as peer-to-peer lending, or act as a crowdfunding intermediary.

Failure to meet the requirements would result in their app being removed from Google Play. If the developer’s license and registration expires, Google will remove the app from the store.

The SEC has been coordinating with Google since 2019 to combat the proliferation of unregistered personal loan apps as some companies use harassment and threats to recover from default.

Some have been found to charge ridiculously high interest rates of up to over 500%, prompting the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to set a cap.

To date, the SEC has revoked the registration of more than 2,000 loan and finance companies due to lack of documentation.

The commission added that the Philippines is only the third country where Google will implement the additional requirements for personal loan app developers. The other two are India and Indonesia.

“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 Aquino.

The list of licensed loan and finance companies and their registration status can be viewed here. – Rappler.com

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