Bank of Russia to mark microfinance organisations on the Internet
The Bank of Russia has launched a project whereby all microfinance organisations (MFOs) searchable through Yandex will be marked to confirm that they are included in the State MFO Register and, at the same time, on the list of one of the three self-regulatory MFO organisations (SROs).
According to a joint project by the Bank of Russia and the search engine, Yandex search results will feature a special marker (a green circle with a tick and ‘Реестр ЦБ РФ’ (State MFO Register) text box) to inform consumers that the website advertises the services of a company officially registered as a microfinance organisation. This will mean that the company details have been entered into the State MFO Register and it is therefore under the direct supervision of the Bank of Russia or under supervision of a SRO of which the company is a member. This company's lending operations are subject to Russian federal law in the area of consumer protection in the microfinance market.
The initiative is set to feature high on the Bank of Russia's agenda of combatting illicit lending and is meant to help consumers surfing the internet to select only legal and compliant providers. In their turn, illicit companies active on the web, including spoof websites in the guise of microfinance organisations, will be forced out of the market.
Going forward, there are plans to extend the initiative to other segments of the financial market where web-enabled consumer and provider interaction is particularly intensive. Web-marking in these segments is currently being explored.