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Community Finance

Community Finance aims to help people in financial hardship to borrow safely.

Community Finance is a partnership between Good Shepherd New Zealand, BNZ bank, and the Ministry of Social Development, delivered by community provider partners like The Salvation Army, Vaka Tautua, Aviva, and Presbyterian Support Otago. There are two specially designed loan products:

  • No Interest Loan (NILS). Interest-free loans of $1,000 ($1,500 in special circumstances) repaid within 12 months.
  • StepUP. Low-interest loans (6.99%) ranging between $1,000 - $5,000, to be repaid over 36 months.

No fees are charged for either of the loans, although there are different criteria and design features for each. The BNZ provides the loan capital.

Eligibility for a loan

People may be eligible to apply for a loan if they meet the following criteria:

  • can repay a loan
  • be on a low income (from work or benefits)
  • hold a Community Services Card
  • have lived at their current address continuously for at least the past three months.

Loans can be used for purchasing higher cost assets (e.g. motor vehicles) or essential household goods and services, such as whiteware or for medical and health expenses. Individuals and families can only apply for these loans if other government agencies are not providing similar services.

Sites offering Community Finance loans

Loans can be arranged by phone or face-to-face at community provider partners across Aotearoa New Zealand:

  • Whangarei - Salvation Army
  • Waitakere (West Auckland) - Salvation Army
  • Henderson (West Auckland) - Vaka Tautua
  • Manukau (South Auckland) - Salvation Army
  • Manukau (South Auckland) - Vaka Tautua
  • Mt Wellington (South Auckland) - Salvation Army
  • Hamilton - Salvation Army and Vaka Tautua
  • Tauranga and Rotorua - Salvation Army
  • New Plymouth - Salvation Army
  • Napier - Salvation Army
  • Hastings - Vaka Tautua
  • Palmerston North - Salvation Arm
  • Porirua - Vaka Tautua
  • Wellington (City, Porirua, Lower Hutt) - Salvation Army
  • Christchurch - Aviva and Salvation Army
  • Dunedin, Oamaru, Timaru – Presbyterian Support
  • Invercargill - Salvation Army.

Applications can be made via the Salvation Army, Aviva, Vaka Tautua and Presbyterian Support Otago.

Results from impact evaluation

The first part of the impact evaluation of Community Finance has shown that it is helping low income New Zealanders to improve their financial capability and independence while saving them thousands of dollars in interest.

The full evaluation will be made available when it has been finalised.

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