• SEC suspends 104 lending firms

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    The number of lending companies suspended by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached 104 in the first four months of 2017 as part of a crackdown on loan sharks and other illegal lenders, the Department of Finance (DoF) said Friday.

    In a statement on Friday, the DoF noted the report of SEC Commissioner Emilio Aquino to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.

    Aquino noted that “in addition to the 84 lending companies whose primary licenses were suspended on March 7, 2017 for failing to obtain a Certificate of Authority (CA), the commission suspended the primary licenses of 20 more lending companies on April 6, 2017 for the same reason.”

    The commission will revoke the primary license of the suspended lending companies if they fail to secure an SEC order lifting their suspension before May 22, 2017.

    Aquino also said the SEC is expanding its investigation into lending companies suspected of either violating the law or not complying with SEC requirements.

    Aquino, who is the SEC Supervising Commissioner for enforcement, reported that the commission will deploy enforcement teams in the regions through its extension offices in the cities of Baguio, Tarlac, Legazpi, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Zamboanga and Davao.

    Aquino noted a nearly 500 percent spike in the number of lending companies that were registered in the first four months of 2017.

    “There has been a significant increase of 477 percent in registration of lending companies for the first four months of 2017. A total of 248 new lending companies were registered in the first four months of the year compared with 43 last year.”

    The SEC assisted 143 aggrieved borrowers from Central Luzon file a criminal case against the officers and board directors of a lending company in Nueva Ecija. The commission also helped a barrower file a criminal case against an illegal foreign lender based in Makati City.

    In the Makati case, the SEC helped the complainant file a petition for deportation against the foreigner-lender before the Bureau of Immigration, Aquino said.

    The SEC will coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation on carrying out operations against illegal lending operators and start building up cases against companies and individuals in several Metro Manila cities this second quarter of the year.

    The SEC began its crackdown against loan sharks and other illegal lenders in October last year.

    The DoF noted that over 200 informal lenders have applied for registration with the commission after the crackdown was initiated last year.

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