Anthony Healy –
BNZ and Community Finance partners Good Shepherd New Zealand and The Salvation Army are delighted with the announcement in the New Zealand Budget of $4.2 million of operating funding over four years for their Community Finance initiative.
Launched in 2014, Community Finance has approved more than 200 low-interest and no-interest loans to financially vulnerable New Zealanders who may not meet bank criteria, and as a result can be forced to take out loans with other providers at very high interest rates and fees.
BNZ estimates that the $500,000 of lending to date has saved Community Finance customers more than $280,000 when compared with borrowing the same amount through alternative lenders.
The additional funding will allow more community finance loan workers to be trained and the programme to be expanded beyond the initial trial regions of West and South Auckland.
We are thrilled that the Government has decided to further invest in Community Finance and we applaud Ministers Bill English and Anne Tolley for their commitment to this initiative.
BNZ has made available $60 million in capital to help a group of New Zealanders break the cycle of using unscrupulous lenders, who often charge crippling fees and penalty upon penalty. Community Finance offers these customers a fair, safe and affordable line of credit.
Community Finance delivers more than just low and no interest loans. We know there are broader societal benefits. People learn budgeting skills. Being able to buy a new fridge can mean a healthier diet. A safe car can enable access to the job interviews and better employment prospects.
The Budget announcement will mean that we can reach more people and get a better understanding of those broader benefits, and how the programme can help contribute to a higher achieving New Zealand.”
Anthony Healy is Chief Executive of BNZ, Title Sponsors of the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture 2016 and Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2016.