NH House passes vetoed title loan bill
CONCORD, N.H.—Businesses offering short-term loans using vehicles as collateral soon will be able to charge 25 percent interest per month in New Hampshire.
The House passed a bill Wednesday 248-123 over Gov. John Lynch's objections that allows New Hampshire's title loan lenders to charge the higher rate.
The Senate overrode the veto in September, so the bill becomes law in 60 days.
Lynch said the bill allowed excessive rates to be charged that would be detrimental to families, communities and the economy. The current rate is 36 percent per year, the same maximum rate set in 2006 by Congress on title loans to members of the military.
Supporters argued the bill provides more options for consumers who need a short-term loan.
"Do we want to be a nanny state telling people how to live their lives?" said state Rep. John Hunt, R-Rindge.
Opponents said it would trap people in high-interest loans they could not repay.
State Rep. Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, said New Hampshire already has three title loan businesses with 16 locations charging 36 percent interest on loans secured by vehicles.
"Where's the downside to that?" said Flanagan, who argued against passing the bill.
State Rep. Rick Ladd, R-Haverhill, said towns could see their welfare costs rise if people get into trouble on the loans and lose their cars and their jobs.
The House later voted 208-139 to send the governor a related bill allowing installment loans with high interest rates. Supporters said it would give consumers more choices, but critics said borrowers could wind up trapped in a cycle of bad debt if they could not repay the loans.