There's a strong tradition of giving to charities and thinking of those in need at Christmas, and long may it continue. As I look for international organisations to donate to this year, I thought I'd also support something closer to home by spotlighting microfinance here.
There are a number of brilliant efforts across the country that offer no-cost or low-cost borrowing solutions to those in need. This is called "microfinance" because of the small loan amounts involved (typically below $5,000, but some go much higher). These loans are specifically for certain circumstances, but they are undoubtedly a real opportunity for some.
Since most of us borrow so expensively on conventional cards and loans with nosebleed interest rates and fees, microfinance solutions are a true gift.
The word on the street, surprisingly, is that there's a lot of microfinance money sloshing around looking for a home. So the funds are there, but providers at times struggle to find people to lend to. I wonder if it's partly because folks have not heard of these options? Perhaps this post can be a bit of a remedy.
Do you know someone who could benefit?
• Agape Budgeting Service (Wellington)
• Angel Fund Wahine Putea (Canterbury)
• Aviva (Christchurch, Rangiora)
• Good Shepherd New Zealand:
- NILS No Interest Loan Scheme (Auckland, Christchurch, North Canterbury)
- StepUP low-interest loans (Auckland)
• Just Dollars Trust (Christchurch)
• Newtown Ethical Lending Trust (Wellington)
• Nga Tangata Microfinance Trust (Auckland)
• Porirua Rongopai Trust (Porirua)
• St Francis of Assisi Dunedin Trust (Dunedin)
• The Kingdom Resources Trust (Christchurch)
• The Salvation Army (Waitakere, South Auckland)
As you'd expect, these providers only lend to some people, for some things and on certain conditions, so it makes sense to contact them directly to find out those details and how to apply. (Special thanks to the team at Good Shepherd for bringing these organisations together and sharing this list.)
This is the last Get Sorted post for the year, so it's time to sign off. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all those you're close to, the very best of the season from all of us at the Commission for Financial Capability. Enjoy it all!