From latin usura denoting interest on money, the term “usury” quickly took on the meaning of an abusive loan. Thus, from its first edition in 1694, the dictionary of the French Academy defines usury as ” the illegitimate interest that one demands from a money or a commodity that one has provided “.
In France, unlike many other countries, the regulations set a usury rate, in other words a rate above which it is forbidden to lend money. The terms and conditions are set by article L314-6 of the consumer code according to which “Constitutes a usurious loan any loan granted at an overall effective rate which exceeds by more than a third the average effective rate applied during the previous quarter by credit institutions”.
In reality, there is not a single usury rate, but about fifteen different ones, depending on the type of loan and the amount of the sums borrowed. These rates are communicated quarterly by the Banque de France, based on changes in the average rates charged by banks for each category: consumer loans, real estate, bank overdrafts. With gaping gaps.
The maximum rate for consumer loans of less than € 3,000 thus peaks at 21.83%. That of mortgage loans of less than ten years has remained limited to 2.41% since 1er October, up slightly from the previous quarter.
The rise in usury rates is not necessarily bad news for all borrowers. Indeed, professionals in the real estate market were worried about a wear rate that had become very low. In this case, they explain, the banks are tempted to refuse loans to low-income households, the maximum rate no longer covering the risk of default.