Are you aware that you can report bad lenders who couldn’t possibly care less about conforming to lawful and responsible lending practices?

We sincerely hope so.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. As much as there are good and responsible lenders who recover loans ethically and understand that borrowers’ have a right to data privacy, we know the bad ones exist too.

It’s not news that when borrowers default on loans, some lenders resort to unlawful practices to bully customers into repaying. These include blackmail, harassment, and other unsavory practices. A common predatory tactic used is broadcast messages to contacts on their phone with details of their person and the money owed. These lenders send heavy handed and abusive messages. Some lenders even resort to threats and curses. It’s all very distasteful (and illegal!)

In 2019, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) released the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) which strictly and clearly prohibits the use of individuals’ data for purposes other than what is lawfully required. It also prohibits sharing of data with third parties and outside the scope of the data owner’s consent.

Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force (JRETF) investigates unethical lenders

The Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force (JRETF) was set up to investigate and clamp down on lenders who violate the ethics of lending and people’s data privacy. The inter-agency task force which consists of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), in collaboration with NITDA, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), was commissioned in response to the rise in complaints of violations of individuals’ data privacy as loan recovery measures.

The JRETF has the power to suspend or discontinue operations of offending lenders. They can even freeze accounts used by lenders to conduct these predatory operations. Lack of a known physical location for a search and seizure is not a limitation for the task force. They are able to enforce the removal of lenders’ apps from the Google and Apple app stores. There’s no more hiding behind apps when there is enough evidence to suggest misconduct. The lender requires new approvals with oversight if they plan to build new applications for the same purpose.

The JRETF has ordered a number of lenders to cease operations. Failure to do so may result in other measures in accordance with the law, including prosecution.

How to report offending lenders

As established, the law does not permit lenders to conduct their business in ways that are harmful to borrowers. This means you can and should report lenders who violate these rules. At Lendsqr we don’t support lenders who engage in these unethical practices and we don’t provide them with the technology to violate your data privacy.

If you find yourself a victim of predatory and unlawful lending practices, you can contact the JRETF at [email protected] with evidence of your ordeal. Additionally, even if you haven’t experienced this personally but have verified information about lenders who carry on their business in this way, you can also contact the JRETF.

Whereby it’s your bank or other financial institution that has violated your rights as a customer, you can fill out the FCCPC complaint form to escalate to the Consumer Protection Office of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

We encourage you to repay your loans when due. Reach out to your lender to restructure your loan if you won’t be able to meet up with repayment. Lenders can also report bad borrowers to the credit bureaus which will blacklist them. However, remember that it’s not okay for lenders to violate your privacy as a result of missed payments. Report bad lenders as well. Let’s all play our part in making the credit ecosystem a saner and safer place.

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