$2 million milestone for Community Finance programme
Media release – 14 March 2018
The Community Finance partnership is proud to announce today the low and no interest loans programme has now provided access to $2 million of lending for financially excluded Kiwi families who may otherwise go to predatory lenders.
Community Finance provides access to a fair and affordable borrowing option around the country.
“The $2 million lending represents 825 families who are struggling to live on limited incomes. The support we’ve provided to so many families is a milestone to celebrate,” said Chief Executive of Good Shepherd New Zealand Fleur Howard.
“The conversations that happen as a part of the loan process help strengthen people's financial understanding and the loans increase the wellbeing of families and communities by enabling change. For example, a reliable car for many of our clients is what they need to hold down a full-time job; a computer can help with further education,” she said.
“People grow in confidence and learn how to look at their budget critically. Perhaps they get a loan or sometimes they go away and sort out some of their debt then return to us for a loan when they’re in a better financial position,” she said.
Frances Ronowicz, Head of Community Finance at BNZ, which provides the lending, said: “We estimate that the $2 million of lending has saved clients more than $1.103 million in interest and charges when compared to borrowing the same amount through predatory lenders.
“The programme addresses a very real need in our community and BNZ is proud to be a part of saving people so much interest. We recognise that by connecting with our community loan workers, people learn life skills like managing their budget better and they become more aware of the impact of borrowing from high-cost lenders,” she said.
“Since the launch of the pilot in August 2014 to March 2017, the Community Finance programme lent $1 million. The nationwide scale-up for the programme, funded by the Government through its 2016 budget allocation for operating costs, meant we’ve quickly reached the $2-million mark,” she said.
“Community Finance loans help people when they’re facing tough times and financial challenges. While the lion’s share of the loans cover vehicles and vehicle repairs, it can also be the funeral expenses of a death in the family or emergency dental work,” she said.