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Is Okash Registered with CBN and Legit? Does Okash Call Your Contacts? Okash Loan Defaulters 

When I first started my business three years ago, I was in desperate need of some working capital. As a new entrepreneur, it was difficult for me to get approved for a traditional bank loan. That’s when I came across Okash, an online peer-to-peer lending platform. I was able to get a N100,000 loan from them within a few days without any collateral. 

While Okash provided the cash flow injection my business needed, I soon realized that the interest rates on their loans were extremely high at 33% APR. Keeping up with the monthly repayments became a struggle as business wasn’t booming yet. Within 6 months, I fell behind on my payments. That’s when the calls and harassment from Okash began.

Is Okash Registered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)?

To legally operate in Nigeria, all financial institutions must be registered and licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). However, after doing some research, I was unable to find Okash listed on the CBN’s official website as a registered financial institution. 

While Okash claims to follow all relevant regulations, their lack of CBN registration is concerning. As an unregulated lender, they are not bound by Nigeria’s consumer protection laws. Borrowers have no proper grievance redress if they encounter issues like predatory interest rates, privacy violations, or harassment.

Without oversight from the banking regulator, there is also uncertainty regarding the security and legality of funds disbursed through Okash. Their loans technically do not qualify as lawful debt under Nigerian statutes. This makes debt collection and enforcement of contracts more problematic.

Do They Really Call Your Contacts When You Default?

One of the most troubling practices reported about Okash is their aggressive debt collection methods, especially towards defaulters. Many past customers complain that Okash frequently calls and sends messages to contacts in their phonebook, even relatives and employers, to shame and coerce repayments. 

While it’s reasonable for lenders to pursue delinquent borrowers, openly contacting third parties crosses important privacy lines. There have been documented cases where Okash shared personal financial details with references without consent. This type of public shaming disproportionately impacts vulnerable groups and can severely harm credit ratings.

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As an unregulated lender, Okash is not bound by the Debt Collection Guidelines issued by the CBN in 2018. These guidelines strictly prohibit abusive practices like disclosing customer details to third parties. They also establish a standard process involving warnings and a default period before commencing legal recovery measures.

Common Issues Faced by Okash Loan Defaulters in Nigeria 

With annual interest rates over 300%, it’s no surprise that default rates on Okash loans are reportedly high. Here are some of the major problems experienced by past customers who were unable to keep up with repayments:

  • Harassment via calls and messages: Being contacted multiple times daily by Okash recovery agents applying pressure tactics is a common complaint. Some have even received late night calls to themselves and references.
  • Threats of legal action: Despite lacking proper registration and licensing, Okash warns defaulters of impending police reports, court cases, and even arrest – which they have no authority to pursue. 
  • Sabotaging of Facebook/LinkedIn profiles: There are claims that Okash agents gain access to borrower social media profiles to post humiliating messages publicly listing their defaults and contact details. 
  • Blocking access to other loans: Once labeled a defaulter with Okash, many find it incredibly difficult to get approval from other financial institutions even years later due to negative credit reports. 
  • Employment termination risks: Employers have fired workers after Okash contacted and pressured them about staff loan defaults, affecting livelihoods. 

Without oversight and consumer safeguards, these predatory debt collection practices by Okash continue to severely impact the lives and livelihoods of many vulnerable Nigerians.

Should You Take an Okash Loan?

While Okash aims to provide access to credit, their extremely high-interest loans, lack of registration, and abusive collection methods towards defaulters raise many red flags. As an entrepreneur, I believe it’s best to exhaust safer options first such as

  • Approach SME-friendly microfinance banks and cooperatives 
  • Consider crowdfunding platforms for startup capital
  • Negotiate supplier credit or factoring agreements  
  • Seek financing from impact investors  
  • Check eligibility for CBN intervention funds
  • As last resort, get a loan from a trusted informal lender
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Only if these safer alternatives are unavailable should one ever consider Okash, and only for small amounts that can be repaid on time without fail. The risks of debt bondage, privacy violations, and ruined credit simply aren’t worth it, no matter how desperate the need for cash. Let this be a cautionary lesson for all.

FAQs about Okash Loans

What should I do if Okash is harassing me after defaulting?

Document all interactions and report the platform to the appropriate authorities like the CBN Financial Consumer Protection Department and the National Human Rights Commission. You can also seek legal remedy by filing a lawsuit for damages against Okash.

How long does OKash take to process?

OKash processes loan applications in minutes. The entire process, from application to approval, is completed online and takes only a few steps.

Conclusion

While financial inclusion is important, it must be achieved through safe, transparent and lawful means. Preying on those in debt through exorbitant charges and abusive practices will only impoverish communities further. All lending platforms operating in Nigeria, including Okash, must subject themselves to proper oversight and regulation to protect consumer rights. Borrowers also need to do thorough research before taking on any loan to avoid becoming trapped in cycles of unsustainable debt. When used responsibly, digital credit certainly has potential, but safety should always come before speedy access.

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