Banks and other loan providers in Kentucky must follow strict state laws regarding the interest rates they may charge. What follows is a brief summary of interest rate laws in the state.

Legal maximum rates and judgment rates

In Kentucky, the maximum legal interest rate is 8 percent, unless the parties agree otherwise. Even in those exceptions, parties may not agree to a rate that is more than 4 percent over the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank or 19 percent (whichever is lower) for principal amounts of $15,000 or less.

The standard interest rate for court judgments is 6 percent, but if the obligation arose from a contract that specified a different rate, then that contract rate still applies, no matter if it’s higher or lower than 6 percent.

Home loans

Kentucky law has a variety of stipulations aimed at preventing predatory lending practices. For example, residential mortgages between $15,000 and $200,000, with closing costs of either $3,000 or 6 percent of the total loan, have special rules associated with them. Lenders may not charge prepayment penalties for these loans unless the borrower receives a written offer without a prepayment penalty. Then, if that offer gets rejected, the penalty cannot be more than three percent for the first year, two percent for the second year, one percent for the third year or any amount after three years.

Lenders can charge fees to change or renew a high-cost home loan or defer payments unless the fees are less than half the fees to refinance or the borrower is in default and the modifications are in the borrower’s best interest.

For more information on the laws that apply to interest rates and lending practices in Kentucky, speak with a dedicated business law attorney at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels, PLLC.