Namfisa warns againt bank card, PIN code retention by microlenders

Namfisa warns againt bank card, PIN code retention by microlenders
Namfisa warns againt bank card, PIN code retention by microlenders

Africa-Press – Namibia. NAMIBIA’S financial regulator has cautioned the public that the retention of bank cards, personal identification number (PIN) codes, and original identification documents, passports and driver’s licence of borrowers by microlenders is unlawful.

Corporate communications manager of the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) Victoria Muranda says the retention of the above documents has been prohibited since 1 March 2012. Muranda yesterday said the move aims at ensuring the protection of borrowers from being exploited by unscrupulous microlenders.

She said consumers of financial services are the most vulnerable members of the financial system, and it is the job of the financial regulator to ensure that they are treated fairly and are protected against market abuse through the enforcement of the Microlending Act.

She stressed that the retention of bank cards, PIN codes and original identification documents enables increased market conduct abuse. The fact that lenders keep the bank cards and PIN codes, or original identification documents does not necessarily imply they will use these items for anything other than collecting payments on their loans,” the communications manager said.

However, consumers, on the other hand, face the genuine risk of their cards being used for other reasons, and the regulator cannot wait until a loss occurs before taking preventative actions.

Although each lender has their own method of dealing with defaulters, the provisions of the Microlending Act must be followed, said Muranda “Lenders cannot require borrowers to sign documents without an agreement between the two on the terms of the loan,” she added.

Moreover, microlenders found guilty of contravening section 23(1)(f) of the Microlending Act, are liable to pay penalties calculated at 10% of the annual value of loan disbursements in the immediately preceding financial year.

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