Missouri Usury Laws
The usury laws in Missouri are rather unique. While there is not a specifically delineated usury cap in Missouri, the legal rate of interest on personal loans in Missouri has been set at 9%. It is presumed that this 9% level is also the usury cap in Missouri -- although the governing statutory scheme does not specifically reference usury.
The courts in Missouri generally construe the legal interest rate established in Missouri to the a usury cap. (The same practice is not necessarily followed in all states that lack specific usury language in their statutes.)
The laws governing interest rates in Missouri also provide that corporations do not have a usury defense. (Again, this provision is on the books despite the fact that there is no explicit reference to a usury cap in the statutes of the state. This reinforces the concept that the 9% legal rate is comparable to a general usury cap in Missouri.)
Under the statutes and regulations of the State of Missouri, a corporation cannot be set up for the purpose of lending money an individual that would violate the statutes in the state governing maximum interest rates in Missouri -- again, 9%.
Courts in Missouri tend to take to approaches when it comes to personal loan agreements in the state that contain an interest rate above and beyond the 9% level. If the interest rate is not significantly above this level, courts in Missouri normally will adjust or refashion the agreement by lowering the interest to or below the 9% level. The loan agreement will otherwise be enforced.
On the other hand, if the variation in the interest rate above the 9% level is more significant, a court will strike down the entire agreement as illegal and unenforceable.
In both of these instances, it is presumed that the loan is made by an individual. If a personal loan is made by a corporation that includes interest above the 9% it will be declared illegal by any court in Missouri and deemed void and unenforceable. In other words, the corporation will not be able to collect on such a loan and may face other penalties.
The statutory provisions governing interest rates in Missouri can be found at Missouri Revised Statutes Section 408.
If you have any questions regarding lending laws in Missouri that are not addressed in this article, you should consult a lawyer. This article is not intended to provide legal advice. Moreover, while we do work to keep the information in this article up to date, you do need to keep in mind that laws do change from time to time.