Julie Stefanik is reaping the benefits of borrowing a StepUP loan through Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB.
Speaking at the launch of A little help goes a long way: Measuring the impact of the StepUP loan program, Ms Stefanik explained how the program was recommended to her by a financial counsellor after she was unable to pay her orthodontic treatment due the financial constraints of being a single parent.
With the success of the loan and removal of her braces she now feels more physically, socially and financially confident.
Her story is consistent with the findings of the research which showed that of the 500 people surveyed, 73.6 per cent experienced a positive change in economic and social outcomes after receiving a loan through the program.
Not only that but 64.6 per cent of loan recipients who used fringe lenders in the past stopped borrowing from them after their StepUP loan, and many others decreased the frequency of their use of fringe lenders.
The research, conducted by the Centre for Social Impact, valued the social and economic benefit of the StepUP program at a $2.68 return to every dollar invested as a result of factors such as a reduced reliance on welfare, savings on fringe credit and reduced stress and anxiety.
The StepUP Loan program is a nine-year partnership between National Australia Bank (NAB), Good Shepherd Microfinance and more recently the Federal Government which delivers loans worth up to $3,000 repayable over a three year period to people who are unable to access mainstream credit from banks and credit unions.