Solon sees big hammer coming down on online lending, investment scammers

Published May 4, 2022, 2:35 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda believes that a bigger crackdown on online lending and investment scams is coming sooner than later, thanks to President Duterte’s expected signing of the Financial Consumer Protection (FCP) Act.

(Maxim Ilyahov/ Unsplash)

“I am told by sources in the Palace that the President is very likely to sign it this week. In any case, it lapses into law on May 7,” Salceda, who is the principal author of the law, said.

The Financial Consumer Protection (FCP) Act will vest financial regulators with the powers of rule-making, surveillance and inspection, market monitoring, enforcement, and adjudication powers over financial products.

“Once enacted, the FCP Act means more powers to authorities, jail time and steeper fines for fraudsters, as well as clearer laws and regulations on investments, lending, and other financial products,” the Bicolano said.

The law also expands the subpoena powers of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over financial products and services.

It also increases the fine for investment fraud to up to P10,000,000 on top of criminal sanctions. The regulators may soon also be able to file independent civil action on behalf of victims of financial or investment fraud.

“Over the past few days, the SEC has been conducting a crackdown on dubious online investments and online lenders. I commend that work, and I expect an even bigger crackdown once the law is enacted,” he said.

“I particularly want tougher moves against the harassment conducted by collectors of illegal online lending applications. I also want jail time for those who solicit unauthorized investments,” Salceda added.

Salceda says that the FCP Act “is a crucial balancing measure in our efforts towards financial inclusion. As more people become included in the financial system, you have a greater base of potential victims of financial fraud. So, you want tougher laws and penalties against fraudsters”.

“Right now, our system is a little ad hoc. If I along with colleagues did not raise hell about the Nagoyo scam for example, we might not have seen the full refund of victimized accounts. With the FCP Act, financial consumers have more solid footing,” Salceda added.