Loan support for low-income earners

INCOME SUPPORT: Good Shepherd SA/NT State Manager Kerry Davies visited Whyalla to meet with partners of the No Interest Loans program.
INCOME SUPPORT: Good Shepherd SA/NT State Manager Kerry Davies visited Whyalla to meet with partners of the No Interest Loans program.

While loans are often seen as predatory, Good Shepherd are trying to change that perception by providing No Interest Loans (NILs) of up to $1500 to low-income earners.

The loans are referred to as a form of "circular community credit" which are a safe option for those looking to cover the cost of essentials such as washing machines, fridges, car repairs, school costs and medical costs.

State Manager SA/NT Kerry Davies was in Whyalla on Thursday to meet with some of Good Shepherd's partner organisations in the area, including the Salvation Army, Centacare Catholic Country, and Uniting Country SA.

Train the Trainer sessions are being held in Port Augusta for those partners, providing them with the knowledge to be able to provide workshops on the basics of money mangement.

Ms Davies said she had seen some people fall into a $3000 debt after borrowing $300 because of ongoing late fees, but NILs were free of any interest or additional charges.

"Across the state we support about 1500 loans anually, and this year is 40 years of No Interest Loans, and we've delivered 300,000 loans since we started," she said.

"Good Shepherd is focused on the wellbeing of you as a person, we value the financial conversation we have through that NIL process.

"We use other support services to deliver the loans because someone may have come in for support at that time and NILs are one of those supports."

National Australia Bank (NAB) have supported Good Shepherd's mission, providing them with the capital to make NILs a reality, and it's been a success with 95 per cent of customers paying the loans back in full.

"We understand some people might need to reduce their payments because circumstances have changed, so they can do that very easily," Ms Davies said.

"They might need to pause their payments while they knock off another bill and then restart that payment."

Financial support is also being offered to those who have experienced domestic violence and those starting a new business, giving them support during a challenging time.