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Good Shepherd Australia Microfinance Matters

In the final edition for 2015 – Insurance for people on low incomes wins innovation awards, $50 million capital boost for microfinance in New Zealand, 2015 Annual Report, National NILS Conference headed to Adelaide and Norma’s story shows the flow-on benefits of NILS.

PLUS: Good Shepherd Microfinance wins two Financial Literacy Australia Awards, supporting victims of family violence, what makes our volunteers tick, small amount credit contracts and an interim job in microfinance turns into much more for Leonie.

Insurance innovation of the year
Australia’s first insurance product for people on low incomes, Essentials by AAI, has won Best Innovative Insurance Product at the Money Magazine Awards. This award comes just weeks after Essentials by AAI won General Insurance Product of the Year and Insurance Innovation of the Year at the AB+F Insurance Awards.
2015 Annual Report
As partners in the community, we’re making good progress against our five year strategic plan.
Our no interest and low interest loans programs go from strength to strength, enabling people to access essential items in an affordable and dignified way.
Our developing programs like Good Money, Good Insurance, Good Learning and Good2GoNow continue to grow and reach more people. In addition, programs like Financial Inclusion Action Plans, microenterprise development and home ownership are starting to take shape.

Capital boost for New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand has announced that it will add $50 million to its existing $10 million commitment of loan capital available to the No Interest Loan Scheme and StepUP low interest loans.

This significant and long term investment in inclusive finance enables Good Shepherd New Zealand to grow and explore new and innovative ways to support people experiencing financial exclusion.

Read more

Financial Literacy Awards
Good Shepherd Microfinance has won two Outstanding Achievement Awards at the 2015 Financial Literacy Australia Awards.

We were recognised for our financial abuse online training program, as well as our ‘Life Changing Chats’ report which looked at the impact of the financial conversation held between a microfinance workers and StepUP loan applicants.

2016 National NILS Conference
We're excited to announce that the 2016 National NILS Conference will be held in Adelaide on the 7th and 8th of June.

The conference will be held a short stroll from the heart of town at the iconic and newly renovated Adelaide Oval.

We've updated with the first of several accommodation options and, of course, the all important Twitter hashtag - #NILS16.

Last year's National NILS Conference was great fun and we look forward to bringing our NILS community together again next year.
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"I had to take early retirement from work … having to leave your job, when you had no choice about it, you feel like everything has gone. When I was successful in getting that loan, it picked me up. I felt I was in control again.”
 - Norma, NILS client.
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Microfinance and family violence
By Ross Coleman
Service Development Manager at BaptistCare

Jill heaved a huge sigh, pushed against the door and hesitantly walked into the waiting room. The last 10 years had been very tough for her – living with an abusive violent partner, trying to protect her kids from their dad who often destroyed their toys and feeling an overwhelming sense of constant worthlessness.  

Jill was hoping to get a NILS loan to complete the accounting course as well as buy some toys for her children. Read more.
‘Residency waivers’ an example of NILS' flexibility
The No Interest Loan Scheme was originally established to support women and girls in need, so it’s important that it remains flexible and meets their needs. ‘Residency waivers’ are a great example of the program's flexibility.
Did you know that the three month residency requirement for NILS can be waived for people who are fleeing family violence?  Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the NILS microfinance worker and approved on a case by case basis by the Loan Assessment Committee.
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“We know that economics and family violence intersect … we know a high percentage of women we assist are approaching us in the context of family violence.”
Adam Mooney in his witness statement to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
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Opening doors for people on low incomes
As a NILS worker, Leonie often sees clients in difficult situations. We asked her how NILS can be a part of re-building lives...

"I had an Aboriginal client who moved from a remote region on the border of South Australia to metropolitan Adelaide. She moved because she couldn’t see a future for her children there.

We had another client recently, a young girl in her mid-twenties. She had been holding down two jobs leading a very ‘normal’ lifestyle living with her partner and the violence seemed to happen quite suddenly."

Volunteers keep NILS ticking
Our No Interest Loan Scheme couldn’t run without volunteers - last year volunteers worked the equivalent hours of 133 full-time employees.

Rosemary Staark and Cynthia Clements volunteer at Starting Point Neighbourhood House in Launceston, Tasmania. We spoke to them about their motivation to volunteer and the friendship it has seen them develop.

Financial Literacy Stakeholder Forum
Dr Christine Nixon APM, Chairperson of Good Shepherd Microfinance, was pleased to participate in a panel discussion on financial literacy for women at the National Financial Literacy Stakeholder Forum. She joined Louise McSorley, Head of the Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and other experts in offering their insight on the alignment of Government and agency priorities, tools and resources that respond to the financial challenges faced by women and issues around economic participation.

Adam Mooney voted into Impact 25
Congratulations to our CEO, Adam Mooney, who features in the Impact 25, which recognises the most influential people in the Australian social sector. Hear Adam’s story in this video produced with the support of our partner, NAB.
Small Amount Credit Contract position statements
Following our submission to the Small Amount Credit Contract review, we’ve published position statements on payday loans and consumer leases. Like our submission, the position statements call for change, such as making consumer leases subject to the same regulations as payday lending.

We also calls for the introduction of mandatory positive credit reporting for payday lending and consumer lease companies, the expansion of ‘protected earnings provisions’ to all people on low incomes and a cap on the cost and length of leases. Read position statements.

Peter McNamara joins ACOSS board
Congratulations to our General Manager of Operations, Peter McNamara, who has been appointed to the board of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). 

ACOSS is the peak body of the community services and welfare sector and the national voice for the needs of people affected by poverty and inequality.

We know Peter will make a valuable contribution.