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Interest rate for legal judgments holds steady at 7.25%

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After years of dropping in response to plummeting interest rates across the country, the interest rate on money decrees and judgments in South Carolina will remain unchanged in 2022, the state’s Supreme Court announced on Jan. 6.

South Carolina has its own unique formula for calculating post-judgment interest — the rate of interest that accrues from the day a judgment is awarded to the day it is paid — setting it “equal to the prime rate as listed in the first edition of The Wall Street Journal published for each calendar year for which the damages are awarded, plus 4 percentage points.”

On Jan. 3, the Journal listed the prime rate as 3.25%, the exact same figure that it had listed the previous January. As such, for the period from Jan. 15, 2022, through Jan. 14, 2023, the legal rate of interest for money decrees and judgments will remain 7.25%, compounded annually.

It’s the first time in years that the state’s legal rate hasn’t dropped. In 2020 the rate was 8.75%, down from 9.5% in 2019. But without much room to drop any further, the prime rate appeared to hit a floor in 2021.

The Federal Reserve is projecting increases in interest rates in 2022 in response to higher inflation, but it will be at least another year before those raises filter into the state’s legal rate.

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