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NC loan interest changes given final Senate OK

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Senate legislation sought by North Carolina's consumer finance companies to increase interest rate limits on installment loans and charge late payment fees for the first time is now heading to the House.

Senators gave their final approval Monday night by a 38-10 vote. Supporters say the measure will help stabilize an industry beset by job losses. Critics argue the industry is recovering and it's the wrong time to raise borrowing costs on working people.

The loan principal cap would rise from $10,000 to $15,000. Lenders could charge 30 percent interest on the first $5,000, compared with the first $1,000 on the most common loans currently.

There would also be $15 late fees and loan restrictions for young military service members.

The Senate gave initial approval last week.