Latrobe Valley families offered interest-free loans

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Families in the Latrobe Valley experiencing financial difficulty will soon be offered access to interest-free and low-interest loans, as well as financial counselling, when a Good Money hub opens in the area.

As part of a partnership between the Victorian government, Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB, the Good Money store, which will open in Morwell in May, will provide a “one-stop shop” for financial services for those in the local community experiencing disadvantage.

The Victorian government is investing $2.9 million in the hub, which forms part of the $174 million Latrobe Valley Community Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

The Good Money store will offer no-interest and low-interest loans to pay for essential items, such as fridges, washing machines, education and medical expenses, in a bid to prevent those in financial difficulty from experiencing further financial stress.

The Latrobe Valley Good Money store will also be the first in the area to offer in-house financial counselling services.

Good Shepherd Microfinance CEO Adam Mooney commented: “Over the coming years, Good Money will enable people in the Latrobe Valley to keep their cars on the road, meet the costs associated with education and retraining, and afford the things that keep families running, like washing machines and fridges.

“There is high demand for safe, fair and affordable finance options in many parts of regional Victoria and we’re delighted to open a Good Money store here in Morwell. This store will provide valuable services to individuals and families who are excluded from mainstream finance in the Latrobe Valley region.”

NAB general manager of retail (Victoria), Mary Scoutas, said the announcement is part of NAB and Good Shepherd Microfinance’s joint commitment to provide more than a million people on low incomes with access to fair and affordable finance by 2018.

“We know there is a real need for initiatives such as this within the community to help build resilience and reduce the risk of falling into a situation of long-term financial hardship,” said Ms Scoutas.

“The Latrobe Valley Good Money store meets the evolving needs of the local community, extends the Good Money franchise to regional Victoria for the first time and builds on our growing network of stores, with three in Melbourne, one in South Australia and another two set to open in Queensland next year.” 

The products and services offered through Good Money include interest-free loans of between $300 and $1,200 for essential goods and services, including education costs and equipment needed for training and loans of between $800 and $3,000, typically used for car-related expenses. Affordable insurance with flexible payment options and free debt management and budgeting advice will also be available.

 [Related: Borrowers ‘extremely concerned’ about rate hikes]

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