The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has definitively revoked the certificate of authority (CA) of Populus Lending Corporation to function as a lending corporation due to unlawful debt collection practices and for its failure to disclose its online lending platforms.
The case emerged from nine formal complaints and 355 informal complaints filed by former Populus Lending clients between September 2022 and March 2023. These complainants alleged that the company engaged in threats, vulgar language, false representations, and doxing tactics during their debt collection efforts.
The complainants recounted receiving threatening messages, aggressive comments on their Facebook posts, messages sent to individuals not involved in the loan but connected to the complainants, and threats of blacklisting in financial institutions.
A joint operation by the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) and the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department in July 2022 uncovered that Populus Lending was operating multiple OLPs, including Pesopop, Antwallet, Dragonloan, and more, in its Pasig City office.
Despite only having four registered OLPs, data from the SEC Corporate Governance and Finance Department showed Populus Lending was operating 13 OLPs in violation of SEC’s memorandum circular no. 19.
The SEC had issued a cease and desist order against Populus Lending on June 26, 2023, due to its unfair debt collection practices.
In light of the company’s failure to contest the revocation order, the SEC issued a resolution on August 1, rendering the decision final and executory.
This move marks the SEC’s continued efforts to regulate and maintain integrity in the lending and financing industry, with 41 companies having their licenses canceled and 81 OLPs ordered to cease operations due to unregistered status.