Conference to focus on the dangers of predatory short-term money lenders
More than 250 people are expected to attend the annual Good Shepherd Microfinance's National No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) conference in Adelaide today and tomorrow.
The NILS is an initiative of Good Shepherd Microfinance and provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to fair and affordable credit.
The State Government has provided $3.6 million to Good Shepherd Microfinance to establish a Good Money store, coordinate microfinance across South Australia and deliver the Debt Deduct program, which connects microfinance and financial counselling to improve financial literacy.
Loans from $300 to $1,200 are available for essential goods and services, such as whitegoods and medical procedures, with affordable repayment schedules.
This year's conference, theme is 'Partnerships for Financial Inclusion' and microfinance workers and volunteers will hear from experts including Carolyn Curtis, CEO Australian Centre of Social Innovation; Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre; and Ross Womersley, CEO of the South Australian Council of Social Services; and Jodi Geddes, Head of Corporate Responsibility at NAB.
In August 2015, Good Shepherd Microfinance opened its first community finance store outside Victoria in Salisbury.
The NILS Conference is an opportunity for microfinance workers and volunteers to hear from leaders in financial inclusion and other topics relevant to their work.
For more information about the conference, visit www.nilsconference.org.au.
Visit www.goodshepherdmicrofinance.org.au for more information about NILS and microfinance.
Financial exclusion occurs where individuals lack access to appropriate and affordable financial services and products. Key services and products are a transaction account, general insurance and a moderate amount of credit.
The NILS gives individuals and families on low incomes access to safe, fair and affordable credit.
Loans can be used for essential goods and services, but cannot be used for cash, bond, rent arrears, debt consolidation, holidays or bills. Affordable repayment rates are set over 12-18 months.
Communities and Social Inclusion Minister, Zoe Bettison said:
Strong partnerships between government, business and community are central to helping all South Australians thrive.
The government is proud to partner with Good Shepherd Microfinance in its important work, which is delivering innovative solutions for vulnerable South Australians.
NILS provides people with some financial stability and certainty as well as access to the services they need to get back on their feet.
Services like NILS make a real difference to South Australians who are struggling financially who no longer have to rely on predatory short-term money lenders.
Good Shepherd Microfinance CEO Adam Mooney said:
We have a goal to double the number of no interest loans provided by the end of 2017 to ensure people in South Australia on low incomes have a way of accessing life's essentials, even when times are tough.
NILS offers a safe, affordable alternative to people on low incomes that otherwise might access expensive alternatives such as payday loans or 'rent to buy' contracts.