ROBOCASH Finance Corp. allegedly violated the Financing Company Act of 1998. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) is revoking the authority it granted Robocash Finance Corp. to operate as a financing company after it was found to be operating branches that do not have a license.

In a statement Thursday, the corporate regulator said it issued the order of revocation on the company last week for violation of the Financing Company Act of 1998 (FCA).

It said Robocash “admitted to establishing and operating branches without the necessary (certificate of authority),” but argued it did not do so with malicious intent.

But the SEC’s Corporate Governance and Finance department, which handled the Robocash case, said the defense has no merit because the company was able to secure 32 certificates for its 32 branches, meaning it is aware of the requirement but “knowingly and willingly committed repeated violations thereof.”

Robocash is a loan provider from Russia that expanded into Southeast Asia by entering the Philippines in 2017. It partnered with local firm Golden Legacy Financing Corp. for its local operations.

Aside from its physical booths spread across public sites such as train stations, Robocash also operates an online loaning platform that is fully automated and runs 24/7.

The SEC said while it appreciates the “laudable” goal of the company to attend to the needs of the underserved, it “must always be remembered that compliance with the provisions of the law is foremost.”

The corporate regulator reported it has so far taken the primary registration of 2,081 lending and financing companies as part of its crackdown on illegal lenders.

Aside from Robocash, the SEC said Thursday it has revoked the certificates of authority of two more lenders, one of which is Moola Lending Corp., which lost its certificate for violations of the Truth in Lending Act and the Lending Company Regulation Act.

Illegal online lenders are also part of the SEC’s crackdown, having issued cease and desist orders against 48 to date. — Denise A. Valdez