Usury laws have no effect on most banks and credit card companies, especially if they are headquartered in states with no defined maximum interest rate limits.Usury regulations do, however, apply to nonbank lending companies such as payday lenders — many of which recently migrated their operations online and affiliated with Native American tribes in an attempt to circumvent financial regulations.

Even if that borrower relocates to a state with a tougher or more lax usury law, the lender must still abide by the law of the state where the borrower lived at the time the loan was provided.

Nonetheless, interest rates are not the only issue.

In the New International Version (NIV), “interest” is the translation of the King James Version (KJV) of “usury.” The following examples are borrowed from the Old Testament, covering a time when wealth in Israelite society was unevenly distributed, and the rich abused the poorest classes, including debtors: Although U. states set their own maximum legal interest rates, a Supreme Court interpretation of the National Bank Act of 1864 preempted state usury laws and created a path toward a national consumer lending economy.

Here’s a brief history lesson on the cases and laws that precipitated deregulation of interest rates: Marquette Case The most important federal case in credit card interest rate deregulation was decided in 1978. First of Omaha Service Corporation involved Minnesota-based Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis and First National Bank of Omaha, headquartered in Nebraska.

But a licensed consumer finance company, or “a person engaged in the business of making loans to individuals for personal, family, household, or other nonbusiness purposes,” is subject to slightly stricter regulations with respect to loan amounts: For loans of $2,500 or less, the company may charge a maximum interest rate of 36 percent, and for loans of more than $2,500, any rate.

Special thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to this section: Although usury laws are still in the books, whether they actually apply depends on the type of financial institution and where it is based.

In the religious texts of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, usury is uniformly condemned as a practice that unfairly advantages the wealthy and exploits the poor.

Today’s legal context of usury traces its roots from the same moral rules that governed ancient societies, cultures and religions, including Christianity.

For decades since, usury laws have remained in the economic spotlight, with constant debate centering on whether they should be changed or maintained.

Many decry usurious practices for hurting consumers while others claim that the absence of usury laws open up access to credit for more people.

Back then, codes of morality, law and religion were the same.