In many of the United States statutes against usury still exist, the particular provisions of which must be sought in local enactments. It may be said of these statutes as a whole, however, that they are generally less severe than the earlier type of statute, and make a usurious contract unlawful only as to the interest or as to so much of the interest as exceeds the legal rate. This tendency towards a milder point of view is often emphasized by decisions of the courts; many of which doubtless do not regard with favor the policy of general prohibitions of usury. Usury is not regarded as so far obnoxious in itself as to prevent a loan of money for use in payment of a claim of a third person known to be usurious from being recoverable.4
The attitude of the courts towards the defence of usury is also indicated by the general holding in recent cases that the repeal of usury laws without a saving clause operates retrospectively so as to cut off the defence in all actions, even in those based on contracts made prior to the repeal,5 - a rule of construction at variance with that generally prevailing in regard to contracts illegal when made;6 and if a borrower undo: a usurious loan seeks affirmative relief in equity, he is usually required as a condition of relief to pay the loan with legal interest.6a
99 Lowe v. Waller, 2 Doug. 736; Young v. Wright, 1 Camp. 139; Ack-land v. Pearce, 2 Gamp. 599.
1 See Woolf v. Hamilton, 14 T. L. Rep. 499.
2 17 & 18 Vict., c. 90.
3 Money Lenders Act, 63 and 64 Vict., c. 51.
4 Lowe v. Walker, 77 Ark. 103, 91 8. W. 22; Thompson v. First State Bank, 99 Ga. 651, 26 S. E. 79; Trimble v. Thereon, 80 Iowa, 246, 45 N. W.
742; Jenkins v. Levis, 25 Kans. 479; Ratcliffe v. Buckler, 22 Ky. L. Rep. 1790, 61 S. W. 472; Yeiser v. Fulton, 36 Neb. 518, 54 N. W. 824; King v. Lane, (Okla.), 169 Pac. 901, L. R. A. 1918 C. 351; Vaught v. Rider, 83 Va. 659, 3 S. E. 293, 5 Am. St. Rep. 305. This was so held even though the new loan was from the creditor of the usurious loan in Lott v. Peterson (Ga. App.), 98 S. E. 361.
So far as usury statutes impose other penalties than invalidating wholly or partially executory contracts, they are without the scope of this book.