Section 5-18-4

License - Required; exemptions; penalties for violation of section.

(a) License required. No person shall engage in the business of lending in amounts of less than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) and contract for, exact or receive, directly or indirectly, on or in connection with any such loan, any charges whether for interest, insurance, compensation, consideration, or expense, which in the aggregate are greater than the interest that the lender would be permitted by law to charge for a loan of money if he or she were not a licensee under this chapter, except as provided in and authorized by this chapter and without first having obtained a license from the supervisor. For the purpose of this section, a loan shall be deemed to be in the amount of less than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) if the net amount or value advanced to or on behalf of the borrower, after deducting all payments for interest, expenses, and charges of any nature taken substantially contemporaneously with the making of the loan, is less than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).

(b) Exemptions. This chapter shall not apply to any person doing business under the authority of, and as permitted by, any law of this state or of the United States relating to banks, trust companies, savings or building and loan associations, credit unions as defined by law, nor to any lawful, bona fide pawnbroking business, nor shall this chapter apply to any person making loans to their tenants engaged in agriculture, nor to loans by agricultural suppliers to persons whose principal business is farming, nor shall it apply to agricultural credit corporations or associations organized under an act of the Congress of the United States, nor shall it apply to the business of financing the purchase of motor vehicles, refrigerators, or other personal property, nor shall it apply to loans insured or guaranteed by the United States or any of its agencies.

(c) Evasions. The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall apply to any person who seeks to evade its application by any device, subterfuge, or pretense whatsoever including, but not thereby limiting the generality of the foregoing: The loan, forbearance, use or sale of credit (as guarantor, surety, endorser, comaker, or otherwise), money, insurance, goods or things in action; the use of collateral or related sales or purchases of goods or services or agreements to sell or purchase, whether real or pretended; and, receiving or charging compensation for goods or services, whether or not sold, delivered, or provided and the real or pretended negotiation, arrangement, or procurement of a loan through any use of activity of a third person, whether real or fictitious.

(d) Penalties. Whoever violates or participates in the violation of any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) nor less than one hundred dollars ($100), or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. Any contract of loan in the making or collection of which any act shall have been done which violates this section shall be void, and the lender shall have no right to collect, receive, or retain any principal, interest, or charges whatsoever.

(Acts 1959, No. 374, p. 966, §3; Acts 1979, No. 79-327, p. 490, §1; Act 2002-305, p. 863, §1; Act 2017-373, §1.)