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A new law that caps interest rates on small loans at 36 percent will go into effect Jan. 1. One such lender in Santa Fe — the Check ’n Go on Cerrillos Road — said people will have even fewer options to obtain a loan when the new law goes into effect.

Ahtza Chavez found herself in a vulnerable situation after moving back to New Mexico from California some 20 years ago.

A single parent, Chavez needed money and decided to take out a high-interest installment loan to tide her over. The decision proved costly and ensnared her in a debt trap.

“Every single time I went to make a payment, it was like, ‘Oh, just refinance it. It’s OK. You don’t have to pay it,’ ” Chavez recalled.

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