Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1968 NO. 1 >

The legislature, by amending RCW 19.52.020 (through enactment of § 4, chapter 23, Laws of 1967, Ex. Sess.) so as to grant to lenders of money the right to collect from borrowers a "setup charge" of four percent of the amount of funds advanced or fifteen dollars, whichever is the lesser, on loans not exceeding five hundred dollars, has not affected a lender's pre existing right to assess reasonable charges against a borrower for services actually performed in setting up a loan exceeding five hundred dollars.

AGO 1981 NO. 9 >

(1) In the light of 1981 legislation, the maximum rate of interest, or service charge, which may now lawfully be imposed in connection with designated types of transactions is as follows: (a) Contract sales of real property‑-the higher of twelve percent per annum or four percentage points over the equivalent coupon issue yield of the average bill rate for twenty-six week treasury bills as determined at the first bill market auction conducted during the preceding calendar month (e.g., for contracts entered into in June, 1981, 20.58 percent), except that this limitation is not applicable if the particular contract is not primarily entered into for personal, family or household purposes or if the transaction is for agricultural, commercial, investment or business purposes and the purchaser is not a natural person; (b) Retail installment sales transactions‑-1-1/2 percent per month (or $1 if greater) for retail charge agreement transactions (e.g., purchases pursuant to a retailer's credit card) and, in the case of purchases covered by a retail installment contract, six percentage points above the average of the equivalent coupon yields of the bill rates for twenty-six week treasury bills for the last market auction conducted during February, May, August and November of the year prior to the year in which the contract is executed (e.g., for retail installment contracts during calendar year 1981, 18.5 percent); (c) Bank credit card transactions‑-the higher of (i) 12 percent, (ii) the rate computed by application of the same formula as now applies to real estate contracts, above, or (iii) 1 percent above the Federal Reserve Bank's discount rate;(2) The foregoing interest rate limitations apply to (a) contracts for the sale of real property entered into on or after May 8, 1981, with the caveat that the general usury statute, chapter 19.52 RCW, should be deemed to have become applicable to such contracts as of February 11, 1981; (b) retail installment transactions likewise occurring on or after May 8, 1981 with, however, a limited exception involving certain existing agreements; and (c) bank credit card transactions entered into on or after May 8, 1981, the effective dates of chapters 77 and 78, Laws of 1981.[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

AGO 1980 NO. 12 >

A two-party real estate contract for the sale of residential real property, involving only the owner-seller (whether commercial or private) of the real property and the purchaser thereof, is not subject to the twelve percent per annum interest limitation contained in Washington's usury statute, RCW 19.52.020.

AGO 1956 NO. 197 >

Where the parties do not contemplate a loan transaction carrying charges may not be considered as interest or charges so as to bring the transaction within the purview of the Small Loan Act.