The research impact born out of a partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance, the National Australia Bank, and the Centre for Social Impact was recognised last night with an Outstanding Achievement Award at a ceremony in Sydney celebrating MoneySmart Week.
“We are excited to be recognised for a partnership that has been in place since 2009 to undertake research into the issues of financial inclusion and literacy, as well as to measure the impact of our initiatives, such as our StepUP low interest loans program.” said Adam Mooney, CEO of Good Shepherd Microfinance.
The report, A Little Help Goes a Long Way, is one result of this partnership and highlights that clients who access a StepUP loan are one step closer to financial inclusion and are less likely to borrow from fringe-lenders. This important work is undertaken to enable people on low incomes to develop financial independence.
In addition to the Outstanding Achievement award, Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB were recognised with a highly commended award in the community category. Addressing financial literacy and financial inclusion as a partnership for ten years, both organisations have committed to the shared goal of providing fair and affordable financial products and services to one million people on low incomes by 2018.
Since 2003, the Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB partnership, in collaboration with Federal and State Governments and over 250 community agencies, has delivered over 61,000 no interest loans (NILS), 7,800 low interest loans (StepUP), 700 matched savings accounts, and an estimated 120,000 financial conversations to enable individuals to make their own financial decisions. In total over $96 million in loan capital has been invested in these programs alongside operational costs and unquantifiable volunteer hours.
“The focus on financial inclusion is vital in our community where a large number of Australians are excluded from our financial system. We especially commend the partnership’s robust evaluation methods to ensure the programs remain relevant and effective for the community” commented the MoneySmart Week judges.
Good Shepherd Microfinance’s 32-year history of innovative community-led program delivery and coordination of microfinance, including influencing financial system reforms across Australia, is aimed at enabling our clients to define their own economic wellbeing. We believe access to appropriate and affordable financial services are vital to people feeling valued, included, and in control of their own finances and lives.
Mr Mooney said “We’d like to also extend our congratulations to Corinne Proske from NAB who has been an outstanding partner the last 10 years and a tireless advocate for microfinance and financial inclusion. We were thrilled that Corinne was recognised in the individual category. It is very well deserved.”
This week, 1-7 September, is the second MoneySmart Week in Australia. The Week encourages individuals to take simple steps to improve their financial well-being.
“We are proud to support this important initiative. MoneySmart Week aligns with our goal to increase economic mobility for all our clients. We believe it is important for people to continue to develop financial literacy skills, so that positive money management decisions can be made throughout their lives.
To further support the Week, we’re holding events at our Good Money stores this Friday to encourage people to stop in for a free money health check” shared Mr Mooney.
The Awards recognise individuals and organisations that have advanced financial literacy in four categories: Schools; Workplaces; Community; and Research. A full list of Award recipients and a summary of their financial literacy programs can be found at www.moneysmartweek.org.au.