THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was able to remove 33 online lending platforms or OLPs from Google Play Store in its campaign against illegal lending, it said on Thursday.

“These OLPs have not been reported to the SEC, in violation of SEC Memorandum Circular No. 19, Series of 2019 or the Disclosure Requirements on Advertisements of Financing Companies and Lending Companies and Reporting of OLPs,” the SEC said in a press release.

The regulator’s action against the OLP applications was with the assistance of Google Philippines.

Under the SEC circular, financing and lending companies are required to register their OLPs as business names and include their corporate names, SEC registration numbers and certificate of authority numbers in their advertisements.

A memorandum circular posted in November 2021 states that only OLPs registered as of Nov. 21, 2021 may operate and be used for online lending, subject to strict monitoring.

In line with the directive, Google adopted a policy in May 2022 that requires developers of OLPs in the Philippines to submit a personal loan application declaration and other necessary documentation before they are allowed to publish on the platform.

The policy allows the platform to remove OLPs from Google Play Store. It also requires OLPs to promptly remove their applications if their registration is no longer valid.

“The SEC will continue its efforts to protect existing and prospective borrowers from abusive, unethical, and illegal lenders,” the regulator said.

To date, the commission has revoked 2,084 certificates of registration of lending and financing companies that failed to secure the required certificate of authority.

The SEC has likewise canceled the certificates of authority of 39 financing and lending companies for violating applicable rules and regulations.

“The SEC is looking at engaging with other social media platforms for the adoption of a similar gatekeeping policy imposed by Google Philippines in the interest of customer protection,” the commission said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile