NPC calls for data privacy compliance in consumer finance sector

Consumer finance services are seeing a steady growth in demand, particularly from small-to-medium enterprises in the Philippines. Thus, there is a need for businesses involved in personal and credit loan services to safeguard the trust of consumers by ensuring that personal information remains secure against data theft.

About a hundred DPOs joined the NPC’s DPO15 Assembly for the consumer finance sector held at the PICC

At the 15th Data Protection Officers Assembly (DPO15), National Privacy Commission (NPC) chair Raymund Liboro encouraged consumer finance service providers to comply with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 as he emphasized the need to mitigate risks as the sector becomes increasingly dependent on advances in technology.

“Data privacy compliance is a must for all organizations that collect and process personal data. Determining your responsibility in protecting such data – from acquisition, storage, and transfer – not only helps your clients have that sense of security but also strengthens your brand as a company that puts their customers above all else,” Liboro said.

The NPC convened Data Protection Officers (DPOs) from the consumer finance sector on February 20 to encourage compliance awareness, accountability, and a sense of urgency for privacy within the sector.

A highlight of DPO15 was the declaration of a partnership between the NPC and key leaders in the consumer finance industry, which included fintech company Home Credit Philippines (HCPH), represented by its president and CEO Annica Witschard, and the Philippine Finance Association led by its president, Gerry Verzola.

“As a fintech company, the more data we have, the better position we are in to provide people with the financial tools that they need. And this means we have a responsibility to our customers and to the public to keep this data safe and secure,” remarked Witschard.

“Responsible use of data, one that is fully compliant with the Data Privacy Act, is a must to protect consumers and retain their trust. We are one with the NPC in raising awareness for this law, and we hope that more companies take part in this initiative.”

Photo shows (from left) NPC chair Raymund Liboro, Home Credit Philippines president and CEO Annica Witschard, and Philippine Finance Association president Gerry Verzola

The NPC has urged government and private firms in the Philippines to register their data processing systems with the agency before the March 8 deadline as part of the requirements of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, under section 45 of the implementing rules and regulations.

A study by Social Weather Stations commissioned by the NPC in 2017 showed that 94% of Filipinos want to know how businesses would use their personal information.

“It’s paramount to install security protocols to ensure that data isn’t stolen or illegally shared. This is one key aspect of protecting the integrity of your business. Everyone, especially businesses, has a responsibility to protect personal information,” Liboro said.

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