Pilot to be Rolled Out for CDFI Sector
4 February 2010 at 12:22 pm
Work is underway to roll out a pilot program as part of plans to grow the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) sector in Australia – a sector that Social Ventures Australia describes as being in its infancy compared to the US, UK and Canada.
The pilot is being set up through the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) following the recent allocation of 7.5 million in government funding.
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) was contracted in 2009 by the Department to do a scoping study looking at the role CDFIs could play in assisting with financial inclusion in Australia.
Senior Consultant with SVA, Olivia Hilton says the two month project looked at the key research into the effectiveness of CDFIs in the UK, US and Canada.
The study also looked at the key policy instruments and the lessons learned overseas.
Hilton says part of the study was to identify the Australian differences and where the need is. She says comparatively the CDFI sector in Australia is certainly in its infancy.
SVA carried out wide consultation with existing CDFIs and banks including NAB and ANZ.
Hilton says the closest CDFI in Australia that compares well with overseas institutions is Forresters Community Finance in Queensland and some Credit Unions in the Northern Territory.
SVA also held discussion with Not for Profits working in the micro financial area such as Brotherhood of St Laurence, with its no-interest loans and the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service.
Hilton says the study highlighted that there is a need among low income Australians and Not for Profits for an alternative service financial service.
Details of the CDFI pilot are expects in coming weeks.