Usurists of Waterdeep
The role of usurists in Waterdeep is one of some importance. The very wealthy and powerful can operate lines of credit generations-long, and borrow sums of wealth from the Houses, temples, and other organizations. But the average folk of Waterdeep are not the highnoses with that kind of luxury.
Yet, Waterdeep is a place that still occasionally requires an influx of coin to accommodate either disaster or opportunity. Folk with some measure of property can simply visit a moneylender, sign a writ of debt against a piece of property (which must be left with the moneylender if it is not real estate or other large collateral), and go their way with their coin, returning to pay it off as quickly as they might - or lose their property.
But not everyone has the property to do this sort of thing up-front. This is where the city's usurists come in. Individuals with connections and fair-sized bankrolls, the average usurist lends coin at a higher rate than moneylenders, usually something in the neighborhood of 25% - 40%, depending on various factors.
Rather than seizing property, usurists threaten the vocations and well-being of those who owe them money and attempt to renege. Usurists always have connections with bully-boys to tend to those who do not pay, usually starting by sending them to threaten the client, and then upgrading the treatment to actual bodily harm, disruption of their place of vocation, and then to the threatening, and even injury or kidnapping of their loved ones. For those likely to leave town, usurists also do not hesitate to hire bounty hunters to hunt down those who flee their debts.
Needless to say, the vocation of a usurist is half-legal. While the agreement papers signed by both parties are as legal as any other business paperwork in Waterdeep, their methods of recovering coin from recalcitrant borrowers is absolutely illegal. Occasionally usurists will sell debts to other usurists or to criminals.
LOC • XXX Ward