SEC orders 3 illegal lenders to cease operations

MANILA – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered three online lending operators to stop their lending activities without the necessary authorization from the Commission and to stop employing abusive collection practices.

In an order issued April 26, the SEC en banc directed Golden Cash, Help Cash, and Grace Cash to immediately cease and desist from engaging in, carrying out, promoting and facilitating any lending activity/transaction until they have secured the necessary registration and licenses from the commission.

The owners, operators, promoters, representatives, and agents of the online lending operators were also directed to stop from engaging in unfair debt collection practices, as defined under SEC Memorandum Circular No. 18, Series of 2019 (MC 18).

The commission likewise ordered the online lending operators to stop offering and advertising their lending business through the internet or any other media, and to delete materials involving such.

The SEC issued the order after finding out that Golden Cash, Help Cash, and Grace Cash are not registered as corporations with the Commission, and as such, they cannot secure Certificate of Authority to operate as lending/financing firms.

Republic Act No. 9474, or the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007 (LCRA), requires persons or entities operating as lending companies to register as corporations and to secure from the SEC the necessary authority to operate.

“The Commission finds that the continued operations of Golden Cash, Help Cash, and Grace Cash constitute a clear violation of, and should be penalized pursuant to the (LCRA) because it engages in, or carries out a lending business without the required license from the SEC,” the commission en banc said..

Findings of the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) revealed that the online lending operators have been employing unfair collection practices, prohibited under MC 18.

The EIPD said the online lending operators have been harassing, threatening, publicly humiliating their respective borrowers, and imposing hidden charges and excessive processing fees.

“The acts of these unregistered online lending operators in illegally offering and providing loans to the public, charging high interest rates, and subjecting its debtors to unfair treatment through abusive and even libelous language in collecting the loaned amount…have no place in a society that is governed by and faithfully adheres to positive laws,” the SEC en banc said.

To see the list of licensed lending and financing companies and their registration status, please visit the lending and financing companies corner on the SEC website at (PR)