Section 5-18-2

Legislative findings of fact and declaration of intent.

(a) The Legislature finds as facts and determines that:

(1) There exists among citizens of this state a widespread demand for small loans. The scope and intensity of this demand have been increased progressively by many social and economic forces;

(2) The expense of making and collecting small loans, which are usually made on comparatively unsubstantial security to wage earners, salaried employees and other persons of relatively low incomes, is necessarily high in relation to the amounts lent;

(3) Such loans cannot be made profitably under the limitations imposed by existing laws relating to interest and usury. These limitations have tended to exclude lawful enterprises from the small loan field. Since the demand for small loans cannot be legislated out of existence, many small borrowers have been left to the mercy of those willing to bear the opprobrium and risk the penalties of usury for a large profit;

(4) Interest charges are often disguised by the use of subterfuges to evade the usury law. These subterfuges are so complicated and technical that the usual borrower of small sums is defenseless even if he is aware of the usurious nature of the transaction and of his legal rights;

(5) As a result, borrowers of small sums are being exploited to the injury of the borrower, his dependents and the general public. Charges are generally exorbitant in relation to those necessary to the conduct of a legitimate small loan business, trickery and fraud are common and oppressive collection practices are prevalent; and

(6) These evils characterize and distinguish loans of $749.00 or less. Legislation to control this class of loans is necessary to protect the public welfare.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this law to bring under public supervision those engaged in the business of making such loans, to eliminate practices that facilitate abuse of borrowers, to establish a system of regulation for the purpose of insuring honest and efficient small loan service and of stimulating competitive reductions in charges, to allow lenders who meet the conditions of this chapter a rate of charge sufficiently high to permit a business profit and to provide the administrative machinery necessary for effective enforcement.

(Acts 1959, No. 374, p. 966, §1; Acts 1979, No. 79-327, p. 490, §1.)