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150% interest on a loan? Consumer advocates hope the threat of a ballot measure will get lenders to ease up

Thursday, October 4, 2018
James Rufus Koren | Los Angeles Times
Graciela Aponte-Diaz

When LendMark started offering subprime loans to California residents a few years ago, it noticed something odd: a vast and growing number of big loans offered by rival firms at interest rates of 100% or higher, and relatively few smaller, cheaper loans.

To executives at the suburban Atlanta company, which entered the state by buying loan storefronts from a competitor, it didn’t make sense.

Though discussions are still in the early stages, Graciela Aponte-Diaz of the Center for Responsible Lending said she’d like to see the measure include a cap of 36% for loans of up to $5,000 and a lower cap for larger loans, plus limits on loan origination fees and other add-on charges.