Participants at the first Consumertrics workshop, held in Lagos, advocated for proper regulation of digital loan sharks.
Experts, speaking on Responsible Borrowing and Lending: Balancing Access to Credit and Consumer Protection, lamented the unethical practices of many loan sharks and the habitual breach of consumer data privacy financial.
Muyiwa Ayojimi, CEO of Consumertrics, called for stricter enforcement of consumer protection laws.
He said the banks’ rigorous lending processes have erected barriers within the country’s huge credit market, giving rise to the proliferation of illegal loan sharks.
Babatunde Irukera, CEO of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCPC), said the practices of many digital lenders violate Section 17 of the FCCPC Act.
Irukera spoke through his representative Marvin Nadah, the deputy director of law enforcement at the commission.
Some of the violations, he said, include “high interest rate on loans; default charges and unethical loan collection methods. He added that the agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other institutions are collaborating to ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines.
Clem Omife, deputy director of consumer affairs representing the executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Dambatta, said the CBN should learn from its Kenyan counterpart on how it effectively regulates digital lenders.
Ridwan Oloyede, a data privacy professional, said some digital loan sharks use specific software development kits that allow them to monitor borrowers’ real-time activities, including their intimate moments. He said consumers should be careful when granting loan sharks access to their mobile data, as it leaves them vulnerable to privacy invasion. He urged digital lenders to allow states to exercise strict oversight, like their federal counterparts.
Olawale Eleto, Head of Credit Analytics for Corporate Banking, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, agreed that digital lenders require strict oversight. He said, however, that some borrowers are only looking to defraud lenders. He therefore urged lenders and borrowers to act responsibly.
Other panelists who spoke at the workshop included Dr. Jamelaah Sharieff-Ayedun, Managing Director of CreditRegistry; Femi Daniel, Senior Regional Privacy Advisor, Mastercard (for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa); Clem Baiye, former NCC National Commissioner and Independent Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria; Afolabi Solebo, Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA); Olawale Eleto, Head of Credit Analysis (for Corporate Banking), Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.