The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it has caused the removal of 33 unregistered online lending platforms (OLPs) available for download on Google Play Store.
The OLPs have not been reported to the SEC in violation of a circular requiring the registration of OLPs and disclosure of their corporate names in their advertisements.
In November 2021, the SEC further issued a circular, which imposed a moratorium on the registration of new OLPs.
The circular provides that only OLPs registered as of November 2, 2021 may operate and be used for online lending or financing, but will remain subject to strict monitoring.
The removal of the OLPs is also in line with the SEC’s previous discussions with tech giant Google.
In May 2022, Google adopted a new policy which required developers with personal loan apps targeting users in the Philippines to submit a Personal Loan App Declaration and necessary documentation before they could publish apps on Google Play Store.
Personal loan apps operating in the Philippines without proper declaration and license attribution will be removed from Google Play Store.
In the event where the submitted license, registration or declaration is no longer valid under applicable laws, the developers are required to promptly remove the app from the Google Play Store.
The SEC will continue its efforts to protect existing and prospective borrowers from abusive, unethical, and illegal lenders.
To date, the agency has revoked the Certificates of Registration of 2,084 lending and financing companies which failed to secure their requisite Certificate of Authority (CA), and canceled the CA of 39 financing and lending companies due to various violations of applicable rules and regulations.
The SEC said it is looking at engaging with other social media platforms for the adoption of a similar gatekeeping policy imposed by Google Philippines in the interest of customer protection.