Since 2005, banks have continued to provide certain military service members with loans that require payment of interest far beyond the 16% New York state cap under what has become known as the “Fort Drum Loophole.” The loophole has specifically exempted banks from the New York usury laws for loans made to service members that are not residents of the United States. This month, the New York Department of Financial Services, in furtherance of Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda which included eliminating the Fort Drum Loophole, began informing certain lenders that the Fort Drum Loophole would no longer be recognized and therefore all loans to service members – whether or not permanent residents of the United States – must be limited to a maximum interest rate of 16%. Governor Cuomo has also indicated that New York intends to crack down on certain other forms of illegal online lending (in particular, payday lending) in the near future.
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