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Rosalie Grant, community finance worker with Presbyterian Services, offers low interest or no interest progressive loans to Nelson.
Nelsonians in need of essentials can now purchase them with low-cost, no-fee loans, thanks to a nationwide program that has been rolled out here.
Good Shepherd’s Step Up Loan Program, which is supported by BNZ, started as a pilot in Auckland and is now offered to Nelson through Presbyterian Support.
Rosalie Grant, community finance worker at Presbyterian Support, said ethical and affordable loans of up to $ 5,000 allow low- and middle-income people to purchase essentials.
Many low- and middle-income earners are excluded from accessing bank loans, Grant said.
This has led some to seek payday loans, short term loans with punitive interest rates.
A progressive loan was a safer and more affordable alternative, Grant said.
“It’s really gratifying to be able to provide a practical solution.
Used cars were at the top of many borrowers’ lists, with about half of the applications requiring financing for a vehicle, she said.
Others needed heat pumps, computers, medical or dental care or mobility scooters, she said.
Grant, she saw a need for the program in Nelson.
A woman she had spoken to needed a car. The young woman was a single mother, who worked part-time around school hours. Her low income meant there was no chance of saving for a vehicle, which she needed to get to work.
She ended up getting a loan from an auto garage, paying 30% interest, Grant said.
“If we had been there, she could have gotten an interest-free or low-interest loan. “
The request involved a meeting to review income and budget, Grant said.
If a loan is not attainable, Grant can point its clients in the right direction: help them improve their eligibility for the loan or direct them to other services.
“Low income people are so resourceful and I’m always in awe of their ability to solve problems,” she said.
All low- and middle-income earners over the age of 18 can apply for a loan by visiting psotago.org.nz or by calling 0800 477 711.