The National Australia Bank (NAB) today welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to provide $18.5 million in funding to Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service and over 300 community agencies, to grow three NAB-supported microfinance programs aimed at financially vulnerable Australians.
NAB has worked with Good Shepherd since 2003 to help deliver not-for-profit microfinance programs to address financial exclusion. The programs include the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®), Step-Up low interest loans and AddsUP matched savings scheme. All three programs will receive Federal Government funding.
NAB’s General Manager Community and Corporate Responsibility, Mr Tim O’Leary, said the funding will significantly assist the growth of the microfinance programs.
“People on low incomes often have great difficulty accessing mainstream financial institutions. For this reason NAB has worked with Good Shepherd for many years now to develop a range of small loans and other financial service products to help address this problem.
“Operational funding is absolutely vital to the future of these programs, and their high rate of success means that demand can quickly outgrow the infrastructure in place to deliver them. The Federal Government’s funding means that over the next two years we will be able to double the number of financially vulnerable families we can help through these loans and savings programs.
“Successful microfinance programs require a whole-of-community approach, with collaboration from government, corporate and community groups to deliver the best outcome. This is a great example of that collaboration at work,” Mr O’Leary said.
NAB’s microfinance commitment includes a pledge of $130 million in capital ($30 million announced in April 2006 and $100 million announced in October 2009) to support lending to low income groups.
The not-for-profit microfinance programs that will benefit from this latest federal funding include:
- NILS® - no-interest loans between $800 -$1200 for individuals living on low incomes, to buy essential household items.
- StepUP Loans – fixed-rate, low interest, unsecured loans for amounts between $800 and $3000.
- AddsUP – a matched-savings plan to promote financial independence and open to people who have successfully repaid their NILS or Step UP loan. Once $300 is saved, NAB will “once-off” match every dollar up to $500.
More information about NAB’s microfinance commitment can be found at www.nab.com.au/microfinance
For more information, see the Fact Sheet: A hand-up not a hand-out
®The NILS trademark is registered to Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service (No 766836)