Finance

Over two-thirds back 36 percent cap on loan interest rates: poll

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Strong majorities of Democratic, Republican and independent registered voters support a federal cap on interest rates that could pass the House later this year, according to poll results shared Tuesday with The Hill.

Seventy percent of registered voters said they approved of limiting interest rates on consumer loans to 36 percent, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit that supports stronger lending safeguards for consumers.

Seventy-two percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents expressed some level of support for the rate cap. Just 12 percent of registered voters polled expressed opposition to the rate cap, while 18 percent said they were either undecided or didn’t have an opinion about the measure.

The poll was conducted between Jan. 9 and 15 through online surveys of 9,962 registered voters, according to Morning Consult.

A bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate introduced a bill in December 2019 that would impose a 36 percent cap on all consumer loan interest rates, including high-cost, short-term loans with rates that can climb well above 100 percent.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said in December that she plans to move the bill through her panel, laying the groundwork for House passage before the end of 2020.

The Morning Consult poll found broad bipartisan approval for the measure, with 52 percent of respondents saying they “strongly support” the rate cap, including 56 percent of Democrats, 48 percent of independents and 51 percent of Republicans who expressed strong support.

Even so, Republican lawmakers have resisted efforts to impose strict limits on high-interest loans, all but dooming the bill in the GOP-held Senate. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has also taken steps to weaken its 2017 rules on payday loans under the leadership of Director Kathy Kraninger. 

Appointed by President Trump and confirmed in December 2018, Kraninger is the CFPB’s first non-acting Republican director and has prioritized loosening regulations written by former Director Richard Cordray, her Democratic predecessor.

Tags Credit Donald Trump Interest rates Loans Maxine Waters Richard Cordray

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