Affordable loan schemes supported by the Government and National Australia Bank funding have passed the milestone of helping 50,000 Australians under financial stress get back on their feet.
NAB, in partnership with Good Shepherd Microfinance and the Australian Government, has developed one of the largest microfinance programs in the developed world.
The total value of no-interest or low-interest loans in the five years of the initiatives is now more than $68 million.
NAB General Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Paula Benson said, “We are so proud to have helped deliver 50,000 microfinance loans to help Australian families get back on their feet.
“NAB has led the industry in making banking more accessible and affordable for all Australians. We believe that as a major contributor to the Australian economy we have an important role to play in ensuring that all sections of the community and economy are financially supported,” said Paula.
At an event in Melbourne to mark the milestone, Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins said, “The Australian Government is proud to be a partner with the NAB and Good Shepherd in delivering these important programs. The NAB’s financial commitment to these initiatives has been similarly generous," Ms Collins said.
“We provided funding of $17.9 million from 2009 and we are investing a further $58.3 million over four years.
“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.
“They’re making a real difference in Australians’ lives – Australians such as Sally, a middle-aged Aboriginal woman from Alice Springs.
“She lost all her furniture and possessions in a robbery and applied for a No Interest Loan Scheme loan to buy a fridge and a washing machine.
“Not long after being approved for a NILS loan, Sally won a traineeship at Woolworths and takes pride in being able to keep her work uniform clean and prepare her lunch for work with her new appliances.
“In applying for a NILS loan, Sally broadened her financial awareness and she’s since opened a savings account.
“The Australian Government is committed to supporting these affordable loan initiatives and looks forward to building on this record of 50,000 good news stories,” Ms 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 per cent interest.
They are open to anyone who holds a Pension or Health Care Concession card.
Since 2003, NAB has committed more than $130 million into microfinance initiatives and anticipates its Microfinance program will support over 20,000 low or no interest loans (NILS) this year alone.
For more information about NAB’s microfinance program see www.nab.com.au/microfinance and http://www.nilsnsw.org.au/prospective-providers/contacts for No Interest Loans Scheme providers
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