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RBI issues strict norms for digital lending

Tags: Committee Economy/Finance

The Reserve Bank of India issued detailed guidelines that will increase scrutiny and supervision over digital lending apps and lenders who engage with them on 10 August 2022.

Digital lenders are those entities which provide loans online. The entire process takes place online and there is no physical interface between the lender and the borrower.

Working Group on Digital lending 

RBI had set up a working group on ‘digital lending including lending through online platforms and mobile apps’ (WGDL) on January 13, 2021, with Jayant Kumar Dash, Executive Director, RBI as the Chairman.  

The working group was set up by the RBI after there were several complaints of malpractices by the  online lending apps.

Main points of the RBI Guidelines 

Classification of online lenders 

RBI has classified the online lenders into three categories ;

  • entities regulated by the RBI and permitted to carry out lending business; 
  • entities authorized to carry out lending as per other statutory/regulatory provisions but not regulated by RBI; and
  •  entities lending outside the purview of any statutory/ regulatory provisions.

Guidelines applicable on which category of entities 

  • RBI has said that its guidelines will be applicable on entities that are regulated by the central bank and the lending service providers (LSPs) engaged by them.
  •  Lending service providers are the intermediary between the regulated entities and the borrower . In simpler terms it is an online platform which brings the lender and the borrower online.

Guidelines of RBI 

  • All loan disbursals and repayments are required to be executed only between the bank accounts of the borrower and the regulated entities. It shall not be routed through any LSP or  third party.
  • Any fees, charges, etc., payable to LSPs in the credit intermediation process has to be paid directly by the regulated entity and not by the borrower.
  •  The all-inclusive cost of digital loans in the form of Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is required to be disclosed to the borrowers. 
  • There cannot be an automatic increase in the credit limit without explicit consent of the borrower.
  • Any lending sourced through DLAs(Digital Lending Apps) have to be reported to Credit Information Companies (CICs) by regulated entities irrespective of its nature or time period. This is particularly important given a number of 'buy now, pay later' players were not reporting the loans they were offering to CICs.
  •  RBI has said the data collected by Digital lending Apps  (DLAs) has to be need based, they should have clear audit trails and should be only done with prior explicit consent of the borrower.

Governor of RBI : Shaktikanta Das

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