THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued cease-and-desist orders against five online lending firms for conducting lending activities without securing the proper authorization from the commission.

In an order issued Feb. 3, the Commission En Banc ordered Tacoloan, VCash, 365 Cash, SwipeCash, and BootCash to stop their lending operations until they have incorporated and secured Certificates of Authority (CA) to Operate as a Lending or Financing Company from the SEC.

“The SEC issued the order after finding that none of the groups are registered as a corporation, nor have they secured CAs from the Commission,” the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007 (LCRA) or Republic Act No. 9474 requires individuals or entities that operate as lending firms to register and to secure a CA from the commission to operate.

“[T]he Commission finds and so holds that the issuance of a CDO (cease-and-desist order) is warranted in the instant case not only to stop the illegal act, but also to prevent the continued fraud on the public who are led by the Online Lending Operators to the belief that they are a legitimate business,” the Commission En Banc said.

Aside from the entities, those involved in the offering of the illegal lending services such as agents, representatives, and promoters were ordered to stop offering and advertising their lending operations online and were told to remove online advertising materials.

The regulator said it also received complaints about the unfair debt collection policies of the illegal online lending operators. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte