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6 lending firms served cease and desist orders over abusive collection tactics

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered six lending and financing companies to cease operations due to their unfair debt collection practices.

In separate orders issued on June 26, the SEC Financing and Lending Companies Division directed Surity Cash Lending Corp., Populus Lending Corporation, U-Peso.PH Lending Corporation, FESL Lending Corp., Philippine Microdot Financing Corp., and Armorak Lending, Inc. to immediately halt any unfair debt collection practices in connection with their lending activities or transactions.

The order applies not only to the companies themselves but also their branches, extensions, satellite offices, units, and online lending platforms (OLPs), together with their owners, operators, promoters, representatives, and agents.

The OLPs associated with these lending and financing companies include Surity Cash for Surity Cash Lending; PesoPop, PesoCow, NewCash, and LuckyLoan for Populus Lending; UPeso, Pera4U, PeraLending, and LoanMoto for U-Peso.PH Lending Corporation; Start Loan, Pondo Loan, and First Cash for FESL Lending Corp.; Pautang Peso, Borrow Peso, King Loan, Loan Peso, Lendpeso Market, Loan Quick, CashCloud, Cash Star, FreePeso, Going Loans, Peso Network, and Red Cash for Philippine Microdot Financing Corp.; and Ayudas and WeLoan for Armorak Lending, Inc.

The companies were found to have employed abusive collection or debt recovery practices against their customers, which violate their obligation to treat their clients fairly.

The issuance of the CDOs follows the filing of a criminal complaint against the lending and financing companies before the Department of Justice. The case stemmed from a joint operation between the SEC Task Force on Online Lending Application and the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), following several complaints against several SEC-registered OLPs, particularly Loanmoto, Lendpeso, and Weloan.

The operation resulted in the arrest of eight employees of Realm Shifters Business Process Outsourcing Services, which was found to be the third-party collecting agent for several OLPs and companies such as U-Peso, Philippine Microdot and Armorak.

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