The Good Money community finance stores have been recognised in the national MoneySmart Week Awards announced last night.
The Good Money project received a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Community category of the annual awards that recognise the outstanding achievements of organisations and individuals working to improve the financial literacy of Australians.
Good Money is an innovative approach to providing alternative financial products for people on low incomes who are excluded from mainstream finance.
In December 2012, three stores were opened in Victoria as part of a partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance, National Australia Bank (NAB) and the Victorian Government.
Since opening, the stores have received almost 10,500 enquiries and provided 1430 loans.
A first of its kind in Australia, the stores are a retail shop front, designed to compete more directly with fringe lenders by providing microfinance products and assistance to people living on low incomes.
The model has proven to be extremely effective with around 70% of people who make enquiries going on to become Good Money customers.
The Good Money stores provide:
- Access to small loans through the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) and StepUP
- Access to AddsUp – an incentivised saving program offered by NAB
- Connections with other local support services e.g. financial counselling
- Financial conversations that focus on the client’s needs and build capacity
CEO of Good Shepherd Microfinance, Adam Mooney, said Good Money is an example of community, government and business working in partnership.
“We know that three million adults in Australia are locked out of mainstream banking. If we are going to solve this, we need new and innovative solutions that work such as Good Money. The financial services provided by Good Money make people feel valued, included and in control of their finances,” he said.
Corinne Proske, Head of Community Finance and Development at NAB, said: “Good Money gives low income locals the confidence to define their own economic wellbeing. We want all Australians to have a healthy relationship with money. Giving people the confidence and means to manage their finances will help build a more robust economy and prosperous communities.”
The Victorian Government has invested $6 million since 2010 to support the operation of the three Good Money stores.
The Victorian Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge said: “The Coalition Government is proud to support the GoodMoney Hubs, which give disadvantaged Victorians a helping hand to access appropriate financial support.”
“These hubs are a great example of government working with the not-for-profit and corporate sectors to design and deliver innovative services to help Victorians on low and limited incomes,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Good Shepherd Microfinance was also recognised at the MoneySmart Awards for its research with Strategic Project Partners into ‘Microfinance, Inclusion and Economic Growth’. The research quantified the overall benefits of moving people collectively from financial exclusion towards and into financial inclusion. It found that financial inclusion was a critical support to economic growth.