The Jakarta Post
As hundreds of customers have started to deal with the aggressive debt collectors of illegal financial technology (fintech) lenders, relevant organizations like the Financial Services Authority (OJK) and the Indonesian Fintech Lender Association (AFPI) are starting to realize the importance of joining forces against these illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders.
“Our position is the same [with the OJK]. Illegal fintech lenders should be exterminated,” AFPI chairman Adrian Gunadi said in Jakarta on Wednesday. He added that the association, which currently had 73 members, had already teamed up with other institutions on the matter.
He said the AFPI had been coordinating with several institutions like the OJK, the National Police, the Investment Alert Task Force and the Communications and Information Ministry to effectively combat illegal lenders.
The OJK revealed earlier that it had received complaints from more than 200 customers on fintech lenders. The authority said that it could only act as a mediator in the dispute resolution between customers and P2P lenders, and that the process would take a long time.
OJK consumer service director Agus Fajri said one of the problems customers faced was being hounded by the lender's appointed debt collectors, who typically employed aggressive methods.
Agus therefore advised people to deal only with legal lenders. “The illegal lenders do not respect anyone or any rule. Meanwhile, we can neither supervise nor take any measures against them,” Agus said as quoted by kompas.com.
Tongam Lumbun Tobing, the chair of the OJK's Investment Alert Task Force, said it had also received reports from customers on illegal P2P lenders. These reports apparently said that the debt collectors hired by the illegal lenders also contacted the customer's neighbors and relatives, although the customers had never provided information on their relatives or neighbors.
Adrian said that the AFPI had also communicated with Google, particularly because the company would play an important role in eliminating illegal P2P lenders that published their fintech applications on Google Play Store.
“I believe that it is not only the OJK that has an important role, because the organizations that can close down [the P2P lenders'] channels are Google and the Communications and Information Ministry,” he said.
Meanwhile, OJK spokesperson Sekar Putih said that 404 illegal P2P lenders had emerged from January to October.
Sekar said the OJK had tried to ban the applications of these illegal lenders, but that they soon republished their apps. “Therefore, the risk is much greater if people deal with illegal fintech lenders. People should avoid them,” she added. (bbn)