The number of companies with full approval to operate as digital money lenders, otherwise known as loan apps, in Nigeria has increased to 161.
According to the approval list published by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, 7 new companies have secured full approval between August 4, 2023, when the list of 154 approved digital lenders was released, and now.
The Commission also disclosed that 55 loan apps are now on its watchlist, an increase from 20 in April.
Indicating that the digital lending market in Nigeria is booming despite challenges and complaints of harassment by borrowers, new companies are coming up to secure FCCPC’s approval for the business.
Aside from the 161 companies that have received full approval, the Commission’s database shows that 40 others have been given ‘Conditional Approval’ and are also in the process of securing their full approval.
Apps on watchlist
According to the Commission, a total of 55 loan apps suspected to be engaging in unethical practices have been placed its its watchlist. Some of the apps include Cashlawn App, Easynaira App, Crediting App, Yoyi App, Nut Loan App, Cashpal App, Nairaeasy Gist Loan App, Camelloan App, Nairaloan App, Moneytreefinance Made Easy App, Cashme App, Secucash App, Creditbox App, and Cashmama App.
Others Are Crimson Credit App, Galaxy Credit App, Ease Cash App, Xcredit, Imoney, Naira Naija, Imoneyplus-Instant, Nairanaija-Instant, Nownowmoney, Naija Cash, and Getloan.
Loan apps registration
The list of approved loan apps is a sequel to the registration exercise started by the FCCPC last year. According to the Commission, it came up with the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022, in collaboration with the Joint Task Force (JTF) to promote fair, transparent, and beneficial alternative lending opportunities for Nigerians.
The registration was also necessitated by the disturbing activities of loan apps in the country, especially the illegal ones, over allegations of rights violations, and unfair practices, among others.
Some of the loan apps charge interest rates that violate the ethics of how lending is done and are involved in naming and shaming which is a violation of people’s privacy with respect to how these lenders recover loans, among other violations.
In a recent interview with NewsTimes, the Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera said, what Nigeria is currently witnessing regarding the operation of digital lenders is a global challenge.
- “Our concern is similar to global challenges with respect to digital lending. Technology is an incredible tool and platform for expansion and shared prosperity, however, it is sadly also a potential tool for exploiting and impoverishing people.
- “We are now certain that those who are willing to do business ethically have come within the Framework, while those determined to engage in illegal and abusive conduct find other means,” he said.