The number of digital lenders licensed to operate in Nigeria has risen to 211 based on new data from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Of the 211 digital lenders, 172 have full approval, while 39 have conditional approvals. This is a slight increase from the 204 licensed digital lenders as of September.
The FCCPC, under its ‘Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022’ is empowered to regulate the digital lending space and make registration and approval a prerequisite for companies seeking to operate in the digital lending space following the illegal activities of some of these apps.
Since announcing the first list of approved digital lenders in the country, the commission has periodically updated its list in accordance with its regulations.
The new list of fully approved digital lenders includes Renmoney Lending Company Limited, White Horse Success Nigeria Limited, Fox Lending Limited, Parkcrowdy Nigeria Limited, Nature Lending Nigeria Limited, Competence Asset Management Limited, Salad Technologies Limited, Leeburg Technology Limited, Summit Finance Limited, Lendwise App, among others.
The firms that have gotten conditional approval include Creditpro Business Support Services Limited, Altara Credit Limited, Pebble Financial Technologies Limited, Eatonhill Investment Limited, Riverbank Partners Limited, Riverbrand Technology Limited, Finpadi Technologies Limited, One Payout Limited, Retail Booster Limited, Topmost Fintech Limited, Grit Tech Limited, Prime Avis Investment Services Limited, Slash Finance Limited, and more.
84 digital lenders are on the commission’s watchlist, and they include Eaglecash App, Ragle Cash App, Quick Naira App, Mega Credit App, Cash Bus App, Quick Loan App, Cash Loan Market App, Cash Cow App, Cash Loan Rupee App, among others.
So far 45 loan apps have been delisted and are operating illegally in the country. They include Naija Cash, Eagle Cash, Firstnell App, Flypay, Spark Credit, Softnaira App, Cashdey App among others.
The FCCPC’s Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022 rulebook became a necessity following the persistent harassment of Nigerians by digital lenders.
Since then, digital lenders have been forced to align with new requirements including registration, restriction of privacy intrusion, and more by the commission and Google.
Commenting on its effort against digital lending apps in August 2022, the FCCPC said, “In addition to the enforcement action(s) and in furtherance of the desire to promote fair, transparent and mutually beneficial alternative lending opportunities apart from traditional lending to consumers, the inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force has developed and mutually adopted a Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 as the first and interim step to establishing a clear regulatory framework.
“This becomes enforceable immediately. It requires permission to proceed in digital lending; it provides a limited moratorium period for existing businesses to comply in order to continue in digital lending.”
Recently, Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, affirmed that compliance with the guidelines is mandatory for all DMLs and failure to comply with its guidelines is a violation of law and renders any such operation illegal.
He said, “Digital Money Lenders operating by any means or on any platforms whatsoever are hereby required to provide evidence of compliance with the guidelines within five days from the date of this release.
“Also, all existing and approved DMLs providing digital lending services through APK file formats in addition to Playstore, are required to provide evidence that such APK operations are in compliance with the law.”