A million thanks to no-interest loans
14 February 2014
A Salvos no-interest loan scheme (NILS) has given out $1 million to disadvantaged Australians for essential goods and services since it began over two years ago.
The small-scale NILS loans are for those who are unable to access affordable finance. People can borrow up to $1500, with no interest or fees charged, and the option to pay the loan off over 18 months.
Many who take up the loans come from difficult backgrounds and may be living in refuges or transitional housing.
The loans are taken out to cover a range of needs and services, from fridges or car repairs to veterinary expenses and educational training fees.
Australian Eastern Territory Moneycare Consultant Tony Devlin says that the work their team does goes beyond just providing financial assistance for people.
“It’s not just about providing a loan,” says Mr Devlin. “It’s also about introducing people to The Salvation Army, making good referrals and linking them in with other services.
“The scheme also provides everyone who comes in with some money management skills, whether they get a loan or not.”
There are now 12 NILS centres in the Australian Eastern Territory. More than 900 loans have been provided, with the average loan being just over $1,100.
Mr Devlin says the achievement of reaching $1 million in loans provided is a testament to the hardworking and highly-skilled Salvos NILS team, many of whom volunteer their time for the service.
“It’s just about doing our job every week and getting loans out there to people who really need them and can’t get them otherwise.
“We try and meet the need as it comes up as best we can, whether that be a financial need, or otherwise,” says Mr Devlin.
By Nathalia Rickwood