Like many of our clients, John had never expected to find himself in need of additional support. He previously had a good career working in public health for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in South Asia and continued to work in the community health services sector after arriving in Australia.
But after going through a divorce in 2008 he went through a very difficult time. Alone in a new country without support from family or friends he found himself making a few bad choices trying to cope with the separation from his son and the end of his marriage. It was during this time that he acquired a bad credit rating and found that “life can be cruel, especially with banks”.
“The banks told me I would have to wait five to seven years until I could apply for a loan,” says John. “No one would give me a second chance even though I previously had a steady income.”
John jumped from payday lender to payday lender, taking out fast cash loans for $150 and paying back $250 or more each time until he found Good Money in Collingwood.
“You are a person with Good Money. I’m not a number – I’m John,” he says
Through John’s previous work, he was well aware of the power and success of microfinance throughout South Asia. What he admires most is the concept of circular community credit – when a borrower makes a repayment to NILS, funds are then available to someone else in the community.
“I felt more committed to repaying, as I had a stake in it. Good Money was created for the community and people just like me.”
“They looked at me like a person, and were friendly. I was feeling swamped and needed to hit the pause button. They made me realise I had options, and gave me another chance by sorting out my issues with Centrelink and giving me a loan.”
John went searching for the essentials to get him back on track. He bought a washing machine for his public housing apartment and a television so that his ten-year-old son would enjoy staying with him on the long weekends and holidays.