NILS research report wins award

Photo: Les Hems from Ernst & Young, Sister Noelene White from Good Shepherd ANZ, Luke Brannigan from NAB/MLC and Michelle Crawford from Good Shepherd Microfinance.

For the second year running Good Shepherd Microfinance and the National Australia Bank (NAB) have been recognised at the Impact Measurement Awards for ‘Achievements in Impact Measurement by a Not-for-Profit and Corporate Partnership’.

The Award recognised the evaluation: ‘Life Changing Loans at No Interest – An Outcomes Evaluation of Good Shepherd Microfinance’s No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)’. Launched in May 2014, the report was the first and most extensive evaluation of NILS since it began more than 33 years ago. It was commissioned in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact (CSI). 

Receiving the award at the SIMNA Gala Awards Dinner in Sydney last night, Sister Noelene White said: “We are honoured to receive this award and I would like to thank the Impact Measurement Awards for their recognition.  Born from one worker’s vision and the Good Shepherd Sisters commitment to social justice, the NILS program was created with the goal of providing women with access to safe, fair and affordable finance.”  

“We started with just $20,000 and a belief that the program would be a success.  Our sceptics said it wouldn’t work and that we shouldn’t expect to see any of the money again.  But that conventional wisdom could not have been more wide of the mark.  Here we are 34 years later, with 260 community partners in over 600 locations providing $30-million of NILS loans. The no interest loans scheme has reached more than 155,000 people and our repayment rate is consistently above 95 per cent.  It is a truly great achievement and one which we are very proud of.”

Michelle Crawford, Good Shepherd Microfinance’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer added: “We would like to acknowledge the continued support of National Australia Bank. In our 11 years of partnership they have invested over $130-million in microfinance in Australia.  Together, our goal is to provide fair, safe and affordable financial products and services to one million people living on a low income in Australia by 2018.”

“Since 2009 we have worked with the Centre for Social Impact and we would like to thank them for the rigorous and comprehensive evaluation they have undertaken for NILS, enabling us to quantify and understand the impact of our programs.”

The report confirmed the large positive impact of NILS demonstrating we are reaching Australia’s most vulnerable people and directly improving their lives.  Key findings include:

-        94% of clients live in poverty and over half are severely financially excluded

-        82% experienced a net improvement in economic outcomes, such as savings in food and utilities expenses as well as greater financial independence and ability to absorb one off unexpected shocks

-        Four out of five clients that have used payday lenders in the past have stopped using them since accessing a NILS loan

-        NILS creates a positive economic and social impact. For every dollar invested in NILS, a social and economic return of $1.59 is created.

The Impact Measurement Awards are part of the Annual Measuring Social Outcomes Conference which provides practical guidance on progressing outcomes measurement.

Read the report in full here

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