$10 Million Microfinance Milestone Reached

BaptistCare HopeStreet, the largest provider of no-interest loans (NILS) in New South Wales, reached a critical milestone earlier this year, having provided more than $11.5 million in microfinance loans to people in need across the state.

In the ten years since the organisation commenced its microfinance program, BaptistCare HopeStreet has delivered no-interest and low-interest loans to people experiencing significant financial distress, supporting communities, families and vulnerable people as they strive for financial stability.

Over 7,000 people have received over 8,400 no-interest or low-interest loans from BaptistCare under the auspicing body of Good Shepherd Microfinance and in partnership with NAB and the NSW Office of Fair Trading. While the largest portion of loan recipients have been individuals, over 1,400 single parents have accessed these safe, affordable microfinance loans through BaptistCare.

“Microfinance is a crucial part of our mission to serve those facing disadvantage in the community and hitting the $11.5million mark is a huge success for us. Our clients are struggling with the rising cost of living and deserve access to fair credit to help them stay on track or get back on their feet,” said Ross Coleman, Community Services Manager at BaptistCare.

“Everyday items like white goods, car repairs and computers are essential for living an independent, healthy and connected life, and BaptistCare’s small loans help people achieve that for themselves.”

“High-interest loans from pay-day lenders or pawnbrokers can be a matter of ‘one step forward, two steps back’ for people in financial distress. For people in tense situations, like women escaping domestic violence or people on the edge of homelessness, high interest rates are yet another burden to be shouldered and worried over. Low- or no-interest microfinance loans relieve that pressure, allowing our clients to focus on building financial stability and resilience, and getting on with their lives.”

“We’re particularly pleased that over 25% of the microfinance loans provided have been provided to our valued Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. BaptistCare is proud to be building such strong and enduring links with indigenous communities in New South Wales.”

The loans have most often been used for car repairs and registration, with over 3,800 loans provided to help young families to maintain independence and keep up with the demands of daily life with a car, or over 48% of total loans.

Fridges and washing machines were the second most-needed items, with 693 and 587 microfinance loans respectively to help individuals and families struggling with everyday living costs (9% and 7% of all loans).

Computers were also in high demand, with over 370 small loans (5% of all loans) provided to assist people with the means to work, engage in education, and stay connected with friends and family.

Growth in the number and value of microfinance loans BaptistCare provides is rapidly accelerating. Over the last two years, the total value of loans provided exploded by over $7.5 million, increasing from approximately $3.5m in June 2016 to over $10 million in December 2017.

BaptistCare remains committed to leading the way in the microfinance field in NSW and the ACT, in helping break the cycle of debt and poverty with fair access to credit for everyday Australians, having spearheaded a Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) in 2016, in which more than 30 organisations are now participating.

Microfinance loans are available through BaptistCare HopeStreet locations across NSW, as well as the ACT, with many loans being accessed in person from its community centres.

Customers can also contact BaptistCare HopeStreet on its 1300 275 227 central intake number, and set up an appointment to access a loan over the phone.