Bernalillo County now offering loans to employees | KOB 4
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Bernalillo County now offering loans to employees

Emily Jaceks
August 29, 2017 11:00 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

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Loans of up to $3,000 will soon be available to any Bernalillo County employee, regardless of their credit history.

County commissioners say they’re offering the program so that in difficult times, employees won’t be forced to borrow money from predatory lenders.

“This will be done (at) no cost to Bernalillo County government, no cost to Bernalillo County taxpayers,” said Bernalillo County Comissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins. “This is a private agreement between the lenders and the employee. It just goes through the payroll so it gives a little more security to the lender so they don’t have to charge such a high interest rate.”

Bernalillo County isn’t the first local entity to offer the program. Doña Ana County, Santa Fe Public Schools and the town of Bernalillo also offer the benefit to their employees.

While Gov. Susana Martinez signed a law limiting interest charges on commercial payday, title and similar short-term loans. Interest on such loans still remains extremely high, at 175 percent.

However, these county-facilitated payroll deduction loans will have interest rates anywhere between 25 to 30 percent.

“A loan at 175 percent can spiral out of control, so it puts families at real financial crisis and we want to…offer this is a service. If you need a short term loan at a reasonable interest rate you can do it through your payroll deduction.”

Employees will have an entire year to pay them back.

“When people are borrowing at those rates, most of those companies are from out-of-state, so that money leaves New Mexico. This way our employees keep their money in their pockets, and it's good for our economy as a whole.”

The county is currently vetting lenders. Officials plan to decide on one in the next four to six weeks, then begin offering the loans by the end of 2017.

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Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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