With 7 years of collaboration, $700,000 in loans and more than 320 clients; they're numbers worth celebrating for Ngā Tangata Microfinance Trust and Kiwibank. And they're getting ready to grow.
Since operations began in 2011 Ngā Tangata developed services that build financial capability, with Kiwibank as partners, they were also able to offer no-interest no-fee loans to those in need. By providing Ngā Tangata with the capital required to provide these loans, Kiwibank is able to give Kiwis a helping hand to get ahead outside of a commercial environment.
The partnership is set to grow.
Kiwibank has just increased the amount of money that’s available for loans from $230,000 to $500,000.
Group Manager Marketing for Kiwibank, Mark Wilkshire, said the programme not only provides people with a hand up, but it helps provide a support for people that can actually break the cycle of poverty.
To celebrate seven years and in acknowledgement of the success of Ngā Tangata, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues, Mark Wilkshire and Dr Claire Dale, Director of Ngā Tangata, addressed an audience of about 60 representatives from the community, businesses, the government and NGO's in February.
Hon. Carmel Sepuloni spoke of a number of stories from her own electorate of vulnerable Kiwis.
She shared stories about young families she knew who almost overnight had gone from a comfortable normal existence, to being very vulnerable and with large debts to repay.
Then Dr Claire Dale talked about the transformational impact Ngā Tangata have seen with clients who receive microfinance support. But she also shared on the mounting issues they see, highlighting the need to continue to pressure government and other bodies, to increase controls on the short term finance sector to get rid of predatory lending practices.
How do the loans work?
People need to be working with a financial mentor to receive ongoing support and budgeting help. However, sometimes this amazing service isn’t enough, and people need an additional relief. Ngā Tangata provides no interest, no fee loans either for asset building (maximum $1500) or debt relief (maximum $3000).
Almost 75% of the loans that they provide are for debt relief.
Since starting in South Auckland, Ngā Tangata has expanded the availability of its interest-free loans to budgeting services in wider Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Manawatu, Levin, Taranaki and Dunedin.
What’s the impact:
You've seen the numbers, and if you watch the infographic video you'll be able to start to see the direct impact but a recent evaluation that was done on the programme has proven the wide-reaching benefits of this support are not just financial. Ngā Tangata's Executive Officer, Robert Choy said;
"One respondent told us, ‘there is finally light at the end of a long, dark tunnel’,"
That reduction of stress - and the desire for a better future for themselves and their families - was a common theme in the impact evaluation.
The lack of legislated consumer protection from the fringe lending sector, and the need for relief from debt-induced poverty, signal that Ngā Tangata will need to continue its mission for more years to come. And Kiwibank is happy to be on board.
Where can I find out more? If you want to know if you are eligible for a loan or are interested in helping out, visit the Ngā Tangata website or contact your local financial mentor to see if they’re currently working with Nga Tangata. Read more about Businesses built to give back here, or more about how Ngā Tangataare reducing poverty one loan at a time.