Micro Finance Services for Disadvantaged Opens in Victoria
4 May 2012 at 11:29 am
A government-backed ‘one-stop shop’ providing microfinance services to disadvantaged Victorians has opened in Geelong.
The Good Money community finance hub was opened by the Victorian Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge, and is expected to provide microfinance products, financial counselling and other community services to more than 1000 financially excluded people in the Geelong area.
Backed by the Victorian Government, Good Shepherd Microfinance and the National Australia Bank (NAB), Good Money says it will help meet low income earners’ need for affordable credit and low cost financial services.
Minister Wooldridge said that the program was about giving disadvantaged Victorians a helping hand to access appropriate financial support.
The Victorian Government is reportedly providing $4.3 million to Good Money, while NAB will contribute $3.5 million, which includes $2.5 million for loan capital for microfinance loans.
Good Shepherd Microfinance chief executive, the newly appointed Adam Mooney, said Good Money was the first store of its kind in Australia to bring together the products and services of local support agencies and offer integrated financial assistance under the one roof.
“The store concept has been designed to be a more visible and socially responsible alternative to fringe and pay day lenders,” Mooney said.
“It will also provide an opportunity for local support agencies to reach sections of the community who may otherwise not feel comfortable accessing the services they provide.”
NAB’s Paula Benson said that the Good Money store demonstrated the innovation possible through corporate community partnerships.
Good Money says it will encourage customers to make responsible financial decisions by assisting with savings, budgeting and debt management.
It says it will also provide access to small amounts of credit for basic household items through the No Interest Loans Scheme and StepUP low-interest loans.
The Victorian Government says that further stores are scheduled to open in Collingwood and Dandenong before the end of 2012.
“It [the program] is a great example of government working with the Not for Profit and corporate sectors to design and deliver innovative services to help Victorians on low and limited incomes,” Wooldridge said.
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