Proving the proverb that good things come to those who wait, Australia’s first Good Money store opened in Geelong on April 27.
The ‘one-stop microfinance shop’ idea was seeded over four years ago. Its realisation as an innovative microfinance shop-front in Geelong in April is expected to provide more than 1,000 people on low incomes in the Geelong area with access to microfinance products, financial counselling and other community services in a comfortable and secure retail environment.*
Backed by the Victorian Government, Good Shepherd Microfinance and theNational Australia Bank (NAB), Good Money will help meet low income earners’ need for affordable credit and low cost financial services.
The Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge officially launched Good Money. Speakers included Sister Anne Manning, leader of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand’s Provincial Leadership Team and Paula Benson, General Manager Corporate Responsibility at NAB.
The Victorian Government is providing $4.3 million to Good Money and NAB will contribute $3.5 million, which includes $2.5 million for loan capital for microfinance loans.
Adam Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of Good Shepherd Microfinance, said Good Money was the first store of its kind in Australia to bring together the products and services of local support agencies and offer integrated financial assistance under the one roof.
“The store concept has been designed to be a more visible and socially responsible alternative to fringe and pay day lenders,” Mr Mooney said.
“It will also provide an opportunity for local support agencies to reach sections of the community who may otherwise not feel comfortable accessing the services they provide.”
In its first few weeks, Good Money has logged 64 enquiries, including a large volume of interest from single women receiving Single Parenting Payments for a car loan to get children to school. A homeless person was able to access services housed in the store to find accommodation, requests for debt consolidation have been received and the next weeks are fully booked out with No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) appointments and StepUP loan enquiries.
Further stores are scheduled to open in Collingwood and Dandenong before the end of 2012.
Located at 104 Moorabool Street, Good Money Geelong is open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:30pm.
To learn more about what makes Good Money so GOOD, visit www.goodmoney.com.au.
*2.65 million (one in seven) Australian adults are either fully or severely excluded from accessing financial products and services including a transaction account, a credit card and general insurance. Source: Measuring Financial Exclusion in Australia, The Centre for Social Impact (2011)