India's Central Bank Issues New Set of Guidelines for Digital Lending

On August 10, 2022, India's Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the first set of guidelines to address the hidden risks present in dig...

India's Central Bank Issues New Set of Guidelines for Digital Lending

On August 10, 2022, India's Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the first set of guidelines to address the hidden risks present in digital lending, which has led to an increase in the number of cases in which borrowers have been harassed and blackmailed. These rules will apply to regulated businesses, loan service providers hired by them, and those authorized by other laws to participate in similar activities.

Following an increase in the number of complaints linked with illegal activities of several online platforms and loan apps, particularly those originating from countries like China, the government began to scrutinize the digital lending ecosystem. In response, the RBI established a working group on digital lending in January 2021; the group submitted its report in November 2021.

The RBI issued the following statement: "Taking into account the inputs received from diverse sets of stakeholders, a regulatory framework to support orderly growth of credit delivery through digital lending methods, while mitigating the regulatory concerns, has been firmed up." It further added, "Innovative methods of loan disbursement through digital lending routes have gained prominence today. However, this has also led to certain concerns which, if not mitigated, might erode the confidence of the public."

According to the RBI, the key issues include unethical recovery tactics, mis-selling, data privacy breaches, improper business conduct, charging exorbitant interest rates, and unrestrained engagement of third parties.

Last week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the government was watching unlawful operations of various digital lending apps, particularly those originating from one country. She did not name China, but she did say that the government was monitoring illicit actions. She was responding to a query about digital apps with links to China financing "unscrupulous loans" in India.

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IndraStra Global: India's Central Bank Issues New Set of Guidelines for Digital Lending
India's Central Bank Issues New Set of Guidelines for Digital Lending
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