SECP apprises digital lenders on new regulatory requirements

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The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) briefed the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) on improved regulatory requirements, recently imposed through Circular No 15 to address the complaints of mis-selling, inflated charges and undue access to customers’ data.

Senior management of all the licensed NBFCs, engaged in digital lending participated in the online session, said a press release issued here on Saturday.

Giving an overview of the circular’s key requirements, SECP Executive Director Khalida Habib informed the participants that the SECP has imposed restrictions on deducting upfront charges from the lent amount. Moreover, the lending companies stopped from operating more than one digital App at Google Play store or any other platform. However, they can launch different products and schemes under one Master App.

Companies that are already running more than one App, have been asked to identify one Master App and shutdown the other apps within 90 days.

The companies are also required to confidentially maintain the user data and provide audit reports of their apps from a PTA approved IT security audit firm. Digital lenders are also required to disclose their full corporate name on their mobile applications.

SECP’s Additional Joint Director Ahmad Abdul Moiz Khawaja briefed the participants on regulations regarding clear disclosures of loan terms and conditions, requirements of managing credit risk, advertisements, grievance redressal systems and loan collection methods. He conveyed the NBFC companies cannot change the terms of the loan agreement without prior consent of the borrower.

The SECP has issued digital lending license to M/s Sarmaya Microfinance (Pvt.) Limited, M/s Cashew Financial Services Limited, M/s Credit Fix Financial Services Limited, M/s Qisstpay BNPL Private Limited, M/s Seedcred Financial Services Limited, M/s Finja Lending Services Limited, M/s Tez Financial Services Limited, M/s Abhi Private LTD, M/s Mirco Cred Financial Services Ltd, and M/s Humraah Financial Services Limited.—APP