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Funeral directors welcome scheme for low earners

Funeral directors welcome scheme for low earners

15 August 2014

The Government’s community finance scheme launched yesterday has been welcomed by the Funeral Directors Association as a safe way of helping low-income earners to access funds to pay for funerals.

The pilot scheme, which is available in Manukau and Waitakere, will allow access to funds for borrowers who banks don’t usually lend to. It is designed to help them access conventional sources of credit instead of using payday lenders and loan sharks.

Funeral Directors Association Chief Executive Katrina Shanks says the scheme has potential to help many low-income people on a number of fronts.

“It’s great that one of the areas the scheme will be open to is applications from people faced with paying for relatives’ funerals.

“A lot of people can’t afford to pay for funerals of loved ones immediately. This comes down to costs in general, but particularly the cost of burial.

“In many cases, funeral directors carry the costs until they are paid off, and they are happy to help where they can.

“In other cases, people with few means will choose cremation, often against their wishes, instead of burial because of the cost of plots.

“Other families go to loan sharks to get money to ensure their relative gets a good send-off. But that means they pay exorbitant interest rates.

“Under this scheme, which is backed by BNZ, these people can apply for loans which represent good discounts from market interest rates and free of traps such as fees and harsh penalties which some payday lenders charge.

“Including funerals on the list of criteria in the community finance scheme will go a long way to helping alleviate some of the stress that finance issues can add at an otherwise very stressful time.

ENDS

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