Aussie Microfinance Milestone
25 September 2012 at 11:28 am
A milestone 50,000 Australians under financial stress have been assisted by microfinance schemes across the country, according to an annual assessment.
The No Interest Loan Scheme, supported by the National Australia Bank and Good Shepherd Microfinance and funded by the Federal Government provides low-income families and individuals facing financial hardship.
“These affordable loans have given more than 50,000 Australian families in financial stress the practical means to get back on track,” Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins said.
Good Shepherd Microfinance chief executive, Adam Mooney, said that its microfinance services are designed to help people living in poverty make everyday financial decisions and take advantage of opportunities that most people take for granted.
“Good Shepherd Microfinance research has shown that its programs have helped Australians in their ability to cope with risk, strengthened community ties and increased access to safe, no interest loans for essential household goods and services,” Mooney said.
Minister Collins said that the most common reason for people seeking the loans is to buy fridges, washing machines and other household appliances.
“Many Australians in financial hardship can’t buy essentials such as fridges or washing machines because they don’t have a credit rating or don’t have the savings.
“These schemes mean low-income families don’t have to commit to high-cost alternative credit to buy essential household items.
“The total value of no-interest or low-interest loans in the five years of these initiatives is now more than $68 million,” Collins said.
NILS loans range from $800 to $1,200 and have a repayment period between one and one and a half years at zero percent interest.
"It has been found that the way we and our community partners deliver microfinance loans not only enables borrowers to achieve dreams, but equips them with valuable community building ethics,” Mooney said.
“Circular community credit encourages loan recipients to repay their loans knowing that as this money is returned, more people in similar situations can also benefit.”
Loans are open to anyone who holds a Pension or Health Care Concession card.
Information on how to apply for affordable loans is available at http://www.goodshepherdmicrofinance.org.au/