SEC orders 3 firms to stop online lending activities

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered three local firms — Peso Tree, Pesoalo, and Pinoy Cash Loan — to stop offering loans to the public through their online platforms because they lacked the necessary licenses.

The agency issued the order on Tuesday, January 21, barring them from offering and advertising their lending business through the Internet and to delete or remove promotional presentations and offerings from the Internet, including the lending applications they operate.

The three firms offered loans to the public through their respective websites, mobile applications, Facebook pages, and other similar online platforms, based on the findings of the SEC’s Corporate Governance and Finance Department and Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD).

However, SEC records showed that they were not registered as corporations and lacked the necessary certificate of authority to operate as lending companies.

The EIPD further found the online lending operators to have employed abusive collection practices by imposing high interest rates, onerous and misleading terms and conditions, making misrepresentations as to non-collection of charges and fees, and subjecting their debtors to public humiliation and ridicule to the extent of violating their right to privacy to ensure prompt and full collection of indebtedness.

The SEC earlier issued cease and desist orders covering a total of 48 online lending platforms and their operators for engaging in the business of lending or financing without incorporating and securing a certificate of authority.

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