Standard & Poor’s said Thursday it has put issuer and issue ratings for five major consumer credit companies on a watch list because a Liberal Democratic Party panel supports capping their maximum lending rates at 20 percent per annum.

The companies on the watch list are Acom Co., Aiful Corp., Promise Co., Takefuji Corp. and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co.

The law on lending rates restricts the maximum rate to 20 percent per year, but another moneylending law permits interest rates of up to 29.2 percent to be charged if the borrower agrees to such terms. This loophole has allowed moneylenders to extend loans at rates between the two ceilings, raising questions about their business practices.

On the other hand, the rating agency kept its outlook for Aeon Credit Service Co., Credit Saison Co. and Nissin Co. unchanged on the grounds that any legal change is unlikely to significantly affect them because Aeon and Credit Saison charge relatively lower rates and because the three firms can count on other revenue sources.

The LDP’s subcommittee on the moneylending industry said Wednesday it would consider unifying the maximum lending rate at 20 percent.

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