NAB is a Good Shepherd for Microfinance
National Australia Bank (NAB) and Good Shepherd Microfinance are looking to cash in on the lending market with the launch of Speckle, a new service offering small loans under $2,000.
NAB says 17% of people in “our community are living outside the financial system, with no access to basic banking products” and 2.6 million Australians “have no savings at all”. That’s one in seven people.
Since 2003, NAB and Good Shepherd Microfinance, a national not-for profit organisation, have been working together.
NAB says they have helped more than 500,000 people on low incomes with no or low interest loans for “essential items” through seven Good Money stores and a network of 160 community organisations in almost 700 locations around Australia. To date, its partnership has focused on offering programmes for people on low incomes.
In a duet, Andrew Thorburn, CEO of NAB, and Adam Mooney, CEO Good Shepherd Microfinance, say: “With an increasingly casual workforce, the rising cost of living and low wage growth, more Australians are unable to access mainstream finance and are turning to fringe lenders to meet their needs. In the past three years, one in five households took out a short-term cash loan.”
As a result, they have now have extended their partnership through Speckle – which offers loans online. It also provides customers with access to financial counselling and other social services.
Because Speckle is offered by a not-for-profit organisation, “all fees go back into keeping costs as low as possible for customers”.
Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB say they are targeting 100,000 people each year – with the aim to reach that goal within two years.
Last year was their biggest on record, when more than 27,300 no and low interest loans were provided to people on low incomes.