Nebraska bill would raise cap on certain loan interest rates

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A personal loan company in Nebraska is once again asking lawmakers to raise the maximum interest rate it can charge customers.

A representative for OneMain Financial spoke in favor of a bill Tuesday that would allow lenders to charge interest of up to 29 percent per annum. Current law lets lenders charge up to 24 percent per annum on principal amounts up to $1,000, and 21 percent per annum on any remaining unpaid balance.

The bill drew sharp criticism last year from some lawmakers. Sen. Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, said the measure would benefit "cutthroat gougers."

Company officials say they face intense competitive pressure from online, out-of-state lenders that can charge higher rates on so-called installment loans. They say they've closed 11 branches in the last decade.

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