SEC shuts down Goodpocket and Easymoney online lending

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered Goodpocket and Easymoney Lending Corporation to cease conducting lending transactions without the necessary licenses from the Commission.

In an order issued on January 18, the En Banc Commission ordered Goodpocket and Easymoney to immediately cease engaging in, performing, promoting and facilitating any lending activity/transaction until they have obtained the necessary approval and authorization from the SEC.

The Companies, their owners, operators, promoters, representatives and agents were further directed to cease offering and advertising their lending business via the Internet or any other media, and to remove any related material.

The Commission issued the order after finding that Goodpocket and Easymoney were carrying out lending activities despite not being registered as a company. As a result, the two companies do not have authorization certificates to operate as a loan or finance company.

Republic Act No. 9474, or the Credit Company Regulation Act of 2007 (LCRA), requires persons or entities operating as loan companies to register as companies and obtain SEC l necessary authorization to operate.

“Thus, the act of these online lending operators to offer and provide loans to the public constitutes an actual fraud which has been intentionally used to mislead the public into believing that they are legally authorized to engage in lending. ‘lending activity which is not and has never been the business’, judged the Commission En Banc.

The SEC has received complaints about the companies’ unfair collection processes, including posting defamatory statements against borrowers on social media and sending such statements to their phone contacts.

“The acts of these unregistered online lending operators of illegally offering and providing loans to the public, charging high interest rates and subjecting its debtors to unfair treatment through abusive and even defamatory language in the collection of the amount loaned, have no place in a society that is governed by and faithfully adheres to positive laws,” noted the Commission En Banc.

The SEC continues to monitor the compliance of loan and finance companies with applicable laws, rules and regulations.

To date, the Commission has revoked the licenses of 36 finance/loan companies due to various breaches of applicable rules and regulations. It also revoked the certificate of registration of a total of 2,081 loan companies for their failure to obtain the required certificate of authority under the LCRA.

A total of 60 online lending apps have been ordered to cease operations for lack of authorization to operate as a lending or finance company.

To view the list of approved loan and finance companies and their registration status, please visit the Loan and Finance Company Corner on the SEC website at lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/lending-companies-and-financing-companies/.

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David A. Albanese