Alabama Title Pawns and Consumer Loans – The Laws That Govern Alabama Lenders

March 29, 2012 by  Filed under: Loans 

The state of Alabama is extremely lenient when it comes to the title pawn industry. Though title pawns are outlawed in many states, lenders issuing these types of loans operate under a great deal of liberty in Alabama.

Alabama pawnbrokers are licensed and state regulated through the Alabama Banking Department. This department regulates all banks, trust companies, mortgage brokers, lenders, payday companies and pawnbrokers statewide. Though licensed and regulated by this department, pawnbrokers are exempt from the laws mandated in the Alabama Small Loan Act. This act, instituted to protect consumers from high interest rates, limits the amount of interest charged on loans less than $1,000. According to Section 5-18-15a of the law, lenders may only charge 3% interest for the first $200 and 2% for the remaining amount up to $1,000.

Consumer loan companies, who issue these types of loans, are regulated by the Small Loan Act. The law has several codes that govern the practices of these lending institutions, one of which is the requirement to obtain a license for each of their Alabama locations. In addition, these lenders are also required to limit their interest rates in accordance with the Alabama Small Loan Act.

Though consumer loan companies are expected to operate under the mandates of the Alabama Small Loan Act, title pawn lenders are exempt from these laws. These lenders do not need to obtain small loan licensing, nor are they required to limit their interest rates accordingly.

The Alabama Banking Department exempts title pawn companies from the Small Loan Act because they are regulated by the Alabama Pawnshop Act. This act provides a great deal more latitude when it comes to maximum interest rates. It also stipulates the term of a title pawn as being one month, renewable for additional months if the pawnbroker and consumer choose to do so.

According to Section 5-19A-7a of the Pawnshop Act, title pawn lenders can charge up to 25% interest per month. A loan that accrues interest at 25% per month, is not the same as 25% APR. Because interest is compounded monthly, should the loan be extended for 12 consecutive months, the annual percentage rate would be 300%. This is a far cry from the maximum interest rates allowable in the Alabama Small Loan Act.

Consumers in Alabama who are looking for a short-term loan may want to consider the advantages of a consumer loan over a title pawn, because a pawnbroker can charge a substantial amount more in interest than consumer loan companies.

Avoid a high interest, Alabama title pawn, by getting a consumer loan.

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