California Constitution Article XV Section 1

The California Constitution, article XV, section 1, states: "No person, association, copartnership or corporation shall by charging any fee, bonus, commission, discount or other compensation receive from a borrower more than the interest authorized by this section upon any loan or forbearance of any money, goods or things in action." Under current law, that amount is 10 percent. (321 Henderson Receivables Origination LLC v. Sioteco (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1059, 1076.) The elements of usury are: "(1) The transaction must be a loan or forbearance; (2) the interest to be paid must exceed the statutory maximum; (3) the loan and interest must be absolutely repayable by the borrower; and (4) the lender must have a willful intent to enter into a usurious transaction. " (Ghirardo v. Antoniol (1994) 8 Cal.4th 791, 798 (Ghirardo).) A number of exceptions, however, exist. One of these is known as the joint venture exception. (Junkin v. Golden West Foreclosure Service, Inc. (2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 1150, 1155 (Junkin).) "'Where the relationship between the parties is a bona fide joint venture or partnership, the advance by the partners or joint venturers is an investment and not a loan, and the profit or return earned by the investor is not subject to the statutory maximum limitations of the Usury Law.' " (Ibid.)