Friday, June 14, 2024

SEC tells public to be wary of dubious online lenders

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has urged the public to be vigilant when it comes to online lending apps, saying it has has received harassment reports from netizens coming from these online “loan sharks.”

To address these concerns, the regulator recently organized a webinar to inform the netizens about the realities of online lending applications and websites.

Mcjill Bryant Fernandez, SEC commissioner, said the webinar is part of the SEC’s financial literacy campaign to provide the necessary information in the lending industry to consumers.

The official noted that in the last several years, technology made financial services more accessible.

“Many of us now have e-wallets and mobile applications to obtain financial services, insurance, and investments. Even lending and loans have also become online,” he said.

However, Fernandez noted that these developments are also being used for abuse.

Kenneth Joy Quimio, assistant director of the SEC’s Financing and Lending Companies  Division, said that many consumers have already been hooked on online lending platforms and applications.

The official said the public can help prevent abuses and one of the ways is to check if these online lenders are registered with the SEC. Quimio also urged the public to read the disclosure statements of these online lenders.

“We must also be wary of unfair debt collection such as harassment, threats, and use of profane languages. We urged the public to file complaints to the SEC if they ever experienced harassment and threats,” she added.

Quimio said that the SEC has promptly resolved 15, 675 complaints that the regulator received from September 2022 to present.

“The SEC does not have the power to erase the debts incurred once we receive a complaint. We give the involved lending companies the chance to comment and then we decide how to resolve it,” the official added.

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