Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) has announced that it will add $50 million to its existing $10 million commitment of loan capital available to the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) and StepUP low interest loans – programmes that enable those living on low incomes access to secure safe, fair and affordable loans to pay for life’s essentials.
NILS and StepUP provide a valuable alternative for people who can’t access a bank loan. They enable people to buy a car to get to and from work, a computer to study, or a new fridge to replace a broken one – all those things that you take for granted when you have access to a credit card or savings.
Fleur Howard, Chief Executive at Good Shepherd NZ, said BNZ had been a wonderful partner to work with, and their additional commitment would allow Good Shepherd NZ and BNZ to plan for expansion of their partnership – the Community Finance Initiative.
“This is a significant, long term investment in the future of inclusive finance in New Zealand. One that enables us to continue to grow our no interest and low interest loan programmes. The size of BNZ’s commitment shows they’re committed to the future of microfinance in New Zealand and means we can explore new and innovative ways to support people experiencing financial exclusion.”
Ms Howard said she was excited to have a commitment from such a large corporate partner, and was looking forward to extending the reach of NILS and StepUP and improving access to safe, fair and affordable loans.
“We have the capital ready and waiting, now we just need to make sure it gets to the people who need it. The Ministry of Social Development has been supportive of pilot work with NILS and StepUP and we are looking forward to working with them and BNZ further to ensure this loan capital can be accessed by as many people as possible,” said Ms Howard.
About NILS and StepUP in New Zealand:
- StepUP is a low fixed-interest loan with no fees, for people on low incomes. You can borrow between $1,000 and $5,000 and have up to three years to pay it back. StepUP Loans can be used for second hand cars, household appliances, computers, medical expenses and education costs.
- NILS loans are interest free loans of up to $1,000 and can be used for essential goods and services such as beds, dining room furniture, lounge suites and fridges.
- People interested in applying for a no interest loan should visit www.nils.org.nz, and for a low interest loan visit www.stepuploan.org.nz