February 3, 2023

The Securities and Exchange Commission is moving forward with its crackdown on unauthorized and abusive online lending activities, starting with several individuals operating unregistered online lending applications.
In a joint operation on Feb. 12, combined forces of the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) and the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) implemented a warrant to search, seize, and examine computer data in Cashtrees Lending Corporation’s office.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 issued the search warrant against Cashtrees Lending for misuse of device penalized under Republic Act 10275 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, in operating unregistered online lending applications in violation of RA 9474 or the Lending Company Regulation Act (LCRA).
Onsite digital forensic examination on the seized devices showed the employees of Cashtrees Lending operated online lending applications such as Happylend, Rush Loan, Easy Money, Good Pocket, Dummy Loan, Lucky Star, Swipe Cash, 365 Cash, Home Peso, Mega Loan, Treecash, and Goldpeso.
Cashtrees Lending is a registered corporation with a certificate of authority to operate as a lending company.
It operates registered online lending platforms such as Happylend, Creditcash and Cashmore, but majority of the online lending applications it operates are unregistered. These include Goodpocket, Easymoney, 365 Cash and Rushloan, which have been the subject of cease and desist orders by the SEC.
The PNP-ACG arrested 46 employees, including the manager of Cashtrees Lending for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the LCRA.
On Feb. 13, the SEC-EIPD and PNP-ACG filed with the Department of Justice an inquest complaint against the arrested employees of Cashtrees Lending for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the LCRA.
The SEC has been receiving numerous complaints against online lending applications for various violations of the LCRA and for abusive debt collection practices in violation of SEC Memorandum Circular 18, s. 2019, which provides for the prohibition on unfair debt collection practices of financing companies and lending companies.
The SEC created a task force to handle complaints involving online lending operators and to take the appropriate measures to stop lending companies and their operators from engaging in abusive practices and activities.
The SEC regularly monitors lending and financing companies for their compliance with laws, rules, and regulations, as it seeks to protect borrowers from abusive, unethical, and illegal lenders.
To date, the Commission has canceled the licenses of 36 financing/lending companies due to various violations of applicable rules and regulations.
It has also revoked the certificate of registration of 2,081 lending companies for their failure to secure the requisite certificate of authority.
There are 72 online lending applications that were ordered to cease operations for lack of authority to operate as a lending or financing company.
The SEC also secured the convictions of 74 individuals for violation of the LCRA.
To see the list of licensed lending and financing companies and their registration status, visit the Lending and Financing Companies corner on the SEC website at https://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/lending-companies-and-financing-companies. – Press release