Community Finance is an initiative with a clear goal – to be a fair and affordable credit option for people who can’t access mainstream bank lending and may be vulnerable to high-cost predatory lenders. The initiative is run by BNZ and Good Shepherd NZ, supported by the Ministry of Social Development.
Community Finance provides small loans of up to $1,500 to buy essential goods and services such as furniture and items needed for school and education. StepUP loans can be used to finance things like a used car to get to work or a new computer for education. Debt consolidation loans can be provided for up to $10,000.
Community Finance is making a difference. In its first five years, nearly $5 million has been lent to over 1,700 families with estimated savings of $2.46 million in interest and fees.
Community provider organisations – Aviva, Presbyterian Support Otago, and The Salvation Army – are the face of the partnership, active in communities right across the country, doing the lending and working with people to provide wrap-around support.