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Good Shepherd Australia Microfinance Matters

In the first edition of Microfinance Matters since budget season, we look at the Australian Government’s investment in microfinance and Financial Inclusion Action Plans, as well as the Victorian and South Australian Governments’ commitment to Good Money going head-to-head with payday lenders.

PLUS: How microfinance workers can tackle financial abuse, findings on the value of financial conversations, Adam Mooney inspired in Central America, and a report from the Centre for Financial Inclusion delivers mixed news.

Government invests in microfinance
In May the Australian Government announced a $33.3 million investment in Good Shepherd Microfinance’s safe and affordable financial services.

Provided over five years, the funding will allow us to grow our range of people-centred, affordable financial programs for people on low incomes.

Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, spoke about the funding commitment and his long-held respect for microfinance at the 2015 National NILS Conference.
Read more or watch the Minister Morrison's speech on YouTube
Tackling financial abuse
Two million women in Australia have experienced financial abuse, yet awareness of the issue remains low.

That’s why we’ve developed a financial abuse online training program that will be rolled out to the 1,500 workers and volunteers in our microfinance network. It will help them identify financial abuse among clients and make appropriate referrals to support services.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, launched the program at the 2015 National NILS Conference.
Read more
or watch Minister Cash's speech on YouTube
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"What you are doing is increasing the opportunity for Indigenous agency as against disempowering and infantilising Aboriginal people."
Reconciliation advocate Fred Chaney AO discussing how microfinance is helping close the gap.
Watch Fred Chaney AO's speech on YouTube
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A good investment in Good Money
The Victorian Government will continue to support the innovative Good Money program with a $7.2 million four year investment. There are three Good Money stores operating in Victoria, offering no interest and low interest loans from prominent high street locations.

Following the success of its three Victorian stores, and thanks to the support of the South Australian Government, Good Money will be opening a new store in Salisbury, South Australia in August 2015.
Making a crust in Nicaragua
In many places 'bread' colloquially means income. In Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, it literally means that and so much more to women in the innovative 'Pan Vida Esperanza' (Bread Life Hope) program. 

Adam Mooney, CEO of Good Shepherd Microfinance, visited Latin America where microfinance programs from nine countries came together for a workshop. Pan Vida Esperanza is one of the inspiring microfinance programs he witnessed on the trip.
NAB's ongoing commitment to StepUP
Underlining its strong and ongoing commitment to microfinance, National Australia Bank has allocated over $1 million dollars per year for the next two years in operational funding of the StepUP loan program.
Head of Community Finance and Development at NAB, Corinne Proske, said “the funding deepens our commitment to helping more low income people become financially resilient.”

Life changing chats
“I am more confident, it's made me realise how to save more and how to use money wisely”  - StepUP client.
Did you know that 66 per cent of StepUP clients become more confident in managing their own money? Or that 47 per cent of StepUP applicants who don’t receive a loan also experience a boost in confidence?

It’s all here in our report: Life Changing Chats.
Promoting industry innovation
The Federal Government has backed up its $33.3 million investment in safe and affordable finance, with a further $800,000 two year commitment to establishing a Financial Inclusion Action Plan program.

These plans help organisations like banks, retailers and government departments to build products and services that promote financial inclusion – it is a way of contributing to a fairer, more just society while refining products and services.  

In developing a Financial Inclusion Action Plan, an organisation develops a greater understanding of its client base and the impacts internal policies have on its clients. With this greater understanding, they can develop more innovative and tailored products, leading to improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and profitability.
Moving toward financial inclusion
A new report from Centre for Financial Inclusion shows some encouraging improvements in financial inclusion, while delivering several sobering reminders of where we need to do better.

By the Numbers analyses the World Bank's recent Findex Report. It shows that every region, income level, and “slice” of the global population is moving toward greater financial access. But it also tells us we need to make much more progress on effective utilisation of financial services, and shrinking the gender gap in financial inclusion.
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When you're included you don’t think too much about the excluded. But when you’re excluded it’s very hard to be included
NILS client, Robert Whitton, addressing the 2015 National NILS Conference.
Watch video of Robert's speech on YouTube
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