DAVAO CITY — The Davao Extension Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called on lending and financing companies to abide by the guidelines set out providing grace period to borrowers during the extended Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), or they will face the burden of being penalized.
OIC Director Atty. Katrina Ponco-Estares said that about 20% of the 40 inquiries that the extension office received in the last 20 days were on issues about financing or lending companies and their loans. One such complaint was saying that the lending company, although implementing the grace period, told its borrowers that they needed to pay the full amount of the loan after the lifting of the grace period.
“As the primary regulator of lending and financing companies, the extension office has urged these complainants to file formal complaints so that their cases can be investigated. By filing formal complaints, we assure the aggrieved parties that we will do everything in our power to protect borrowers from harassment and abusive lending practices,” said Ponco-Estares.
“We want to send a strong message to lending and financing companies to strictly adhere to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Any violation or non-compliance shall be dealt with to the full extent of the law,” she added.
Under Section 3.01 of the IRR issued by the Department of Finance, all covered institutions shall implement a 30-day grace period for all loans with principal and/or interest falling due within the ECQ Period without incurring interest on interest, penalties, fees and other charges. The initial 30-day grace period shall automatically be extended if the ECQ Period is extended by the President of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to his emergency powers under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
The IRR also covers banks, quasi-banks, non-stock savings and loan associations, credit card issuers, pawnshops and other credit granting financial institutions under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Cooperative Development Authority, whether public or private, including the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System and Pag-IBIG Fund.
Section 6 of the same law emphasizes that violators, aside from being penalized with previously applicable penalties under existing laws, will also face the possibility of imprisonment of two (2) months or a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than one million pesos (P1,000,000.00), or both.
Those who want to file complaints against their lenders may go to http://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies/complaints/. In sending the complaint form to firstname.lastname@example.org via e-mail, kindly use the following format in the subject head of the e-mail: FULL NAME_COMPANY COMPLAINED OF_SUBJECT OF COMPLAINT (ex: JUAN DELA CRUZ_ABC LENDING_DISCLOSURE STATEMENT VIOLATION).
To check whether the financing and/or lending company is registered with the Commission, borrowers can go to http://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies/list-of-financing-companies/.