On 22 May 2007, Republic Act No. 9474, also known as the “Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007,” was signed by the President. The law is consistent with the declared policy of the State to regulate the establishment of lending companies and to place their operation on a sound, efficient and stable condition to derive the optimum advantages from them as an additional source of credit; to prevent and mitigate, as far as practicable, practices prejudicial to public interest; and to lay down the minimum requirements and standards under which they may be established and do business. Here is a basic discussion of the new law:
What is a Lending Company?
It refers to a corporation engaged in granting loans from its own capital funds or from funds sourced from not more than nineteen (19) persons. It shall not be deemed to include banking institutions, investment houses, savings and loan associations, financing companies, pawnshops, insurance companies, cooperatives and other credit institutions already regulated by law. The term shall be synonymous with lending investors.
What is the form of organization for a lending company?
A lending company shall be established ONLY as a corporation. Existing lending investors organized as single proprietorships or partnerships shall be disallowed from engaging in the business of granting loans to the public one year after the date of effectivity of the law. No lending company shall conduct business unless granted an authority to operate by the SEC.
What is the capital required for lending companies?
The minimum paid in capital of any lending company established under the law is One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00). Existing lending companies established and in operation prior to the effectivity of this law shall comply with the required minimum capitalization within such time as may be prescribed by the SEC which time shall, in no case, be less than three years from the date of effectivity. The SEC may also prescribe a higher minimum capitalization if warranted by circumstances.
What is the citizenship requirement?
Upon the effectivity of the law, at least a majority of the voting capital stock shall be owned by citizens of the Philippines. The percentage of foreign-owned voting stock in any lending company existing prior to the effectivity of the law, if such percentage is in excess of forty-nine percent (49%) of the voting stock, shall not be increased but may be reduced and, once reduced, shall not be increased thereafter beyond forty-nine percent (49%) of the voting stock of the lending company. The percentage of foreign-owned voting stocks in any lending company shall be determined by the citizenship of the individual stockholders. In the case of corporations owning shares in a lending company, the citizenship of the individual owners of voting stock in such corporations shall be the basis in the computation of the percentage. No foreign national may be allowed to own stock unless the country of which he is a national accords reciprocal rights to Filipinos.
What are the prescribed amount and charges on loans?
A lending company may grant loans in such amounts and reasonable interest rates and charges as may be agreed upon between the lending company and the debtor. However, the agreement shall be in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 3765, otherwise known as the “Truth in Lending Act” and Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the “Consumer Act of the Philippines”. The Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, in consultation with the SEC and the industry, may prescribe such interest rate as may be warranted by prevailing economic and social conditions.
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