As China’s banking watchdog prepares new rules to rein in the chaotic online lending industry, a local industry body in Beijing has stepped into the fray, telling its members to cap the total interest rate and fees they charge on unsecured short-term loans below 36%. The Beijing Internet Finance Industry Association (BIFIA), an organization that represents some 63 companies with operations in the capital, has also asked members to submit a report by Dec. 8 detailing any products that charge an annual percentage rate (APR) of more than 36% and to disclose how many borrowers are rolling over their debts with new loans from another lender, Caixin reports.
The APR consists of the nominal interest rate on the loan and any other costs or fees involved. The notice comes as financial watchdogs put the spotlight on the booming, but loosely regulated online lending industry. Over the past week, the central bank and regulatory officials from 17 provinces have met to discuss stepping up supervision of microlenders.