National Consumer Law Center: New report finds Wisconsinites exposed to larger, longer triple-digit interest predatory loans

Wisconsin contact: Peter Skopec, [email protected] or (847) 687-7229 (m)

National Consumer Law Center contact: Stephen Rouzer, [email protected] or (202) 595-7847

 

NCLC 50-State Review of Consumer Protection Laws for a $10,000 Five-Year Installment Loan

Download the full report, including a map, charts, and tables, a complete list of recommendations, and a summary of the laws in Wisconsin that apply to a $10,000 five-year non-bank loan.https://www.nclc.org/issues/a-larger-and-longer-debt-trap-installment-loan.html 

 

MADISON – Everything that is wrong with a high-cost loan is only made worse when the loan is larger and longer. Yet, Wisconsin and 11 other states place no numerical cap at all on the annual percentage rate (APR) for a $10,000 five-year non-bank installment loan, leaving 90 million people in the United States, and nearly 6 million Wisconsinites, subject to triple-digit annual percentage rates (APR) on predatory installment loans, according to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center. These high-cost installment loans can trap people in a cycle of debt that can be nearly impossible to escape.

 

“Our state’s inadequate predatory lending laws encourage installment loan sharks to legally rip off Wisconsinites to the tune of millions of dollars in interest and fees each year,” said Peter Skopec, director of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG). “Installment lenders promise struggling people a way to get ahead, only to leave them far worse off than they were before. It’s time for state and federal elected officials to stop this debt trap.” 

 

A Larger and Longer Debt Trap? Analysis of States’ APR Caps for a$10,000 Five-Year Installment Loan

examines the maximum APR, including both interest and fees, allowed in each state and the District of Columbia for a $10,000 five-year loan. The report finds that, for a $10,000 five-year loan, 7 states (Alabama, California, Idaho, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin) impose no numerical rate cap other than a prohibition of rates that shock the conscience, and the lending laws in Delaware, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Virginia impose no limit at all.

 

In comparison, for a $10,000 five-year loan, 39 jurisdictions have APR limits in place, at a median rate of 25%, protecting 236 million people.

 

“Our analysis shows a general consensus among the states that APR caps should be well below 36%for these larger, longer-term loans,” said National Consumer Law Center Deputy Director Carolyn Carter, the primary author of the report.

 

Key Recommendations for States

 

Limit APRs. An APR cap is the single most effective step states can implement to deter abusive lending—protecting consumers from excessive costs and giving lenders an incentive to ensure ability to repay. An APR cap of about 25% is at the high end of what is reasonable for larger, longer-term loans such as a $10,000 five-year loan, and represents the median among the 39 states that cap the APR for such a loan. States with caps of 25% or less should preserve their caps, states that have higher caps should reduce them, and states that do not have a numerical cap should impose one.

 

Ban or strictly limit junk fees for credit insurance and other add-on products. States should place strict limits on add-on products and should require their cost to be included in the APR cap.

 

Ensure that the consumer can afford to repay the loan. States should impose a duty on lenders to meaningfully evaluate whether the consumer can afford to repay the loan while covering other expenses without re-borrowing.

 

For the complete set of recommendations for states and additional materials, please visit: https://www.nclc.org/issues/a-larger-and-longer-debt-trap-installment-loan.html

This report builds on NCLC’s extensive work on predatory lending. For more information, please visit: https://www.nclc.org/issues/usury.html.

 

 

Stephen Rouzer

Sr. Communications Strategist

National Consumer Law Center

1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 510

Washington, DC 20036

(202) 595-7847 (office)

(202) 320-8394 (cell) 

@StephenRouzer

www.nclc.org