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RBI’s Regulatory Framework For Digital Lenders Still In The Making

RBI’s Regulatory Framework For Digital Lenders Still In The Making

Amid rising complaints against digital lending apps, the RBI Governor said that the central bank would soon come out with a broad regulatory architecture to address the challenges

Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday urged the general public to take loans only from the lending entities registered with the RBI

In a latest horrifying incident involving a digital lender, the loan recovery agents of an online loan app sexually harassed a homemaker in her early 20s who had taken a loan from the platform

At a time when complaints against digital lenders are seeing an uptick, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das once again highlighted the central bank’s upcoming regulatory framework for digital lenders while delivering a lecture on Thursday (June 9).

Das mentioned that the framework would be a significant step in addressing the issues dealing with unauthorised digital lending platforms.

“I think very soon we will be coming out with a broad regulatory architecture, which should be able to address the challenges that we are confronted with, with regard to lending through digital platforms, many of which are unauthorised, unregistered, and, should I say, illegal,” Das said in his speech on ‘Indian Businesses (Past, Present and Future)’.

The framework is in the making for some time now. 

At a post policy press conference in April, Das had spoken about the growing number of complaints against digital lending apps and assured citizens that the central bank acts on all the complaints on an individual basis, irrespective of whether they are made directly, indirectly or on social media.

In a latest horrifying incident involving a digital lender, the loan recovery agents of an online loan app sexually harassed a homemaker in her early 20s who had taken a loan from the platform. The agents reportedly circulated her morphed nude photo and sent abusive messages from different mobile numbers.

The RBI had constituted a committee in 2021 to form a draft report on digital lending, including lending via online platforms and mobile apps. Das had earlier stated that the RBI has already received more than 650 suggestions/comments from the industry stakeholders and their examination was almost over. 

In April, Das said that a final decision on the report was expected to be released in a few months. 

In his media interaction after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Wednesday (June 8), Das urged the general public to do due diligence before availing services from digital lending apps and only borrow from the apps that are registered with the central bank. 

“Majority of the complaints regarding lending apps pertain to entities that are not registered with the RBI. The general public should approach local authorities which are liable for lodging a complaint in such matters,” he said. “All details pertaining to registration of digital money lenders is available on RBI’s website.”

Das further added that the central bank would act against the RBI-registered digital lending apps registered but said that the local police would be the body responsible for acting against the unregistered apps in the cases of harassment of borrowers. 

During his keynote address on Thursday, the governor also said, “Indian business is now at a critical juncture with both opportunities and challenges. The macroeconomic and geopolitical environment is fast-changing and there is a greater need to remain alert.” 

“I am confident of our dynamic entrepreneurs having ample capacity to deal with these challenges and capitalise on the opportunities,” he added.

Amid the geopolitical tensions due to the Russia-Ukraine war, the RBI on Wednesday increased the repo rate by 50 basis points to 4.90% to control inflation which is hovering above the central bank’s tolerance limit of 6%.

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