Good Money Microfinance Celebrates Five Years of Three-Way Partnership
Tuesday, 5th September 2017 at 12:27 pm
Not for profit Good Shepherd Microfinance says the fifth anniversary of its low or no-interest Good Money shops, now operating in three states, has proved the worth of the three-way partnership between business, community and government.
Since beginning as a pilot store in Victoria, Good Money has grown to seven Australian stores located in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland and is the result of a partnership between banking group NAB, state governments and community organisation Good Shepherd Microfinance.
Good Shepherd Microfinance CEO Adam Mooney told Pro Bono News the stores had provided more than 5,800 low or no-low interest loans to “vulnerable Australians” living on a low income.
“We are very proud to have partnered with NAB as well as state governments in three states,” Mooney said.
“This is a role model partnership where each of the three partners is really playing to its strengths.
“In terms of us as a community organisation with the trust of the community and understanding how to offer financial services to people on low incomes, along with NAB who is providing the capital… we are saying that people on low incomes are able to service loans if they are offered the right circumstances.”
Mooney said NAB had now lent more than $8 million through the Good Money stores.
“Last but not least the state governments in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, who see not only the social case where people have hope and an option to buy a fridge, a washing machine, a laptop or some other essential item to progress their lives, but these governments know the clear economic case for the three million who can’t get access to fair safe and financial services,” he said.
Mooney said the service had reached more than 33,000 people with advice and financial capability building over five years and written 6,000 loans valued at more than $8 million dollars.
“We have also engaged in a very substantial diversionary program. The stores are in retail centres in high traffic where we know the demographic of people who are looking for finance and they are close to payday lenders and other forms of credit,” he said.
“Four out of five people who take out one of our loans will stop using payday lenders. We are having an impact. We have been very successful in diverting people away from high cost credit.” Mooney said the success of Good Money stores was now being pitched as a novel idea overseas.
“In the UK a couple of months ago we were presenting on the Australian situation and they were fascinated with Good Money stores and they are thinking of something similar. In the States they are very interested in this as well using the culmination of community, governments and banks offering this service,” Mooney said.
He said the success of the Good Money store concept was also having an impact on the federal government’s small credit reform.
“In the last 18 months the government has been looking at substantial reforms with the panel looking at both the payday lending sector and the expensive consumer lending sector where you can pay up to six times the value of the item in a rental contract and still not own the item,” Mooney said.
“The biggest reform is about the capping of the consumer leases.”
He praised the efforts of NAB in continuing its work in this area.
“The NAB’s Ken Henry and Andrew Thorburn both have a high social conscience. They know that people may temporarily have low capacity to pay for something that is essential for safety or survival. If they can get access to that finance and pay it over a reasonable period in an affordable way then they will see these clients go on to be the most loyal bank customers into the future,” he said.
“Moving into other states is a major priority for us. Hats off to the Victorian government who started all of this and then the SA government and last year the QLD government.
“We have had conversation with the NSW government and they are very keen, it’s just a matter of finding space in the budget. Wherever there is a payday lender there is a need for a Good Money store.”
The first regional store was opened in Morwell in Victoria in August.
“We would love more stores and there is a high need in NSW, NT – Alice Springs and Darwin and we have been speaking to the new Labor government in WA about stores in Perth to start off with,” he said.