A UNM law professor is throwing her considerable professional weight behind a call for voters to kick legislators out of office if they don’t vote to cap interest rates on so-called payday loans.
At issue are three bills now pending before the New Mexico Legislature that would limit interest rates on loans to no higher than 36 percent a year. At present, it is not unusual for storefront lenders to charge more than 400 percent annually, and those who take out the loans almost always are those that can least afford them: the poor.
In a letter to the Journal, Nathalie Martin of the University of New Mexico School of Law says, “everybody favors the cap, except the legislators who have lined their pockets with industry funds.”
She is referring to surveys that show 85 percent of New Mexicans – including more than 260 religious leaders – support capping interest rates. Eighteen states and the U.S. military have capped interest at 36 percent or lower. And a dozen municipalities – including Albuquerque and Bernalillo County – have adopted supporting resolutions.