On March 26, the West Virginia governor signed HB 3143, which amends the requirements for regulated consumer lending in the state to provide that a person making or taking assignment of consumer loans, or “undertaking direct collection of payments,” must first be licensed by the state’s Commissioner of Banking. Among other things, the act also adjusts the threshold amounts “for which certain finance charges can be imposed” on consumer loans, including revolving loan accounts. For instance, (i) on loans less than $3,500 that are not secured by real property, the finance charge “may not exceed 31 percent per year on the unpaid balance of the principal amount”; and (ii) on loans between $3,500 and $15,000, the finance charge “may not exceed 27 percent per year on the unpaid balance of the principal amount.” The act also provides restrictions relating to when finance charges may be imposed again, and states that, in certain cases, the “financing of  charges is permissible and does not constitute charging interest on interest.” The act further clarifies that the new licensing provisions exclude “any collection agencies as defined and licensed by the West Virginia Collection Agency Act of 1973.” HB 3143 is effective June 7.
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