LOANS & DEBT

Fair and Affordable Lending

Everyone deserves financial security, but too often New Mexicans encounter predatory loans or abusive financial practices. After years of hard work by advocates and community members, the New Mexico legislature finally passed a bill that will cap the interest rates on most storefront loans at 36%. The new law will go into effect in January 2023.

For years, unscrupulous lenders have offered loans with exorbitant interest rates, with no regard for an individual’s ability to repay them. The highest rates of high cost lending in our state occur in McKinley County on the border of the Navajo Nation, where predatory lenders target and extract wealth from Native communities. 

NMCLP works to protect family income from predatory lending by advocating for changes to the law, improving enforcement of laws and regulations impacting small loan companies, closing legal loopholes, and compelling high-cost lenders to be more accountable and transparent.  

Debt Collection Reform

When faced with debt collections, New Mexicans are at risk for financial crises and should be treated fairly by businesses, local governments, and in our courts. NMCLP advocates for changes to our laws that exempt critical income from debt collection, implement fair debt collection practices in courts, and minimize the use of fines and fees.

Hospital and Medical Bills

People should be able to access healthcare when they need it, without fear of facing devastating medical debt. Almost a quarter of New Mexico’s population has medical debt in collections, and hospitals in the state sue thousands of patients for unpaid medical bills–garnishing their wages, placing liens on their homes, and ruining their credit.  

Thirty-seven percent of adults who reported medical debt or a problem with medical bills used up all of their savings to pay these bills. Patients with medical bill problems are nearly three times more likely to postpone needed care. 

With our partners in the NM Together for Healthcare coalition, NMCLP successfully advocated for legislation in 2021 that prohibits hospitals and providers from suing low-income patients or sending them to collections over a medical bill. The law also requires hospitals, urgent cares, and clinics to check if patients qualify for public insurance (like Medicaid) or programs that can cover healthcare costs. We work with the agencies in charge of implementing this law to make sure the law adequately protects patients. We also work with low-income patients to make sure they are protected from being or sent to collections over a medical bill.

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