Today, the Premier, has announced an increased investment of $1 million in NILS (No Interest Loans) Network of Tasmania.

This funding will allow NILS Tasmania to aim to increase our no interest loans output by at least 60% for the next three years. In 2018/19 we issued 2,519 Microfinance loans which enabled the purchase of close to $3 million of products and services in over 350 business across Tasmania. 

As John Hooper, CEO of NILS Network of Tasmania said “Today’s investment will enable NILS Tasmania to now aim for 4000 loans per annum to disadvantaged Tasmanians which will enable $4 million in spending in Tasmanian business per year.” 

“Basically this $1 million will result in a direct spend of $4.5 million in Tasmanian retailers and businesses. We will provide safe affordable finance for people in financial hardship and provide a great boost to small and medium businesses all over Tasmania.” 

There are many Tasmanians that are facing unemployment and incredible financial strain. When people are experiencing disadvantage we know they’re more vulnerable to poor financial decisions and particularly vulnerable to fringe lending –pay day lenders and consumer leases - as a solution when they’re desperate. 

In fact, we already know that data from across Australia shows Payday loan use is growing most rapidly in Tasmania, with a growth rate of 15.5% between January and July 2019. 18% in 2017 and 16% in 2018. What’s horrible about these loans is they end with over 15% of people stuck in a never ending debt spiral with many ending in bankruptcy. With the extraordinary situations we’re facing that could be more. 

“We congratulate the Premier and the government on recognising the great value of NILS Tasmania as the safe financial alternative, and helping us to expand what we can do for financially vulnerable Tasmanians” commented Stuart Foster (Chair of the NILS Tasmania Board and National General manager of Salvation Army Community Services) 

NILS Tasmania is a not for profit community organisation established in 2002 which has issued more than 22,000 loans totalling more than $19 million dollars for household goods and services, as well as over 1,000 micro business loans to a value of $2.4 million. 

NILS provides Loans from $300 to $1,500 to low income earners who qualify for a health care card to purchase essential household goods and services. 

There are no fees, no interest, and no charges – ever. 

Our clients choose the product they want from their local supplier, we purchase the item and the client pays us back at a maximum repayment of $40 a fortnight over 18 months (on a $1500 loan). 

Our loans are delivered through a state-wide network of 65 delivery partner organisations including: the 34 Neighbourhood Houses; Anglicare; Salvation Army; City Missions. Through them 383 trained volunteer Loan Officers provide the face-to-face component of the NILS Tasmania loan process in over 93 sites across Tasmania. 

We are the largest of the no interest loan providers across Australia and we operate in partnership with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand who manage the national NILS Scheme and National Australia bank provide the financial capital for our loans. And despite the vulnerability of our clients we have an incredibly low bad debt rate of 2.8%. Our loans are about mutual aid. Each client dollar that gets repaid gets lent to other members of the community. In fact we know that the $250 000 that NILS lent in our first year of operation in 2002 has now been lent, repaid and relent to the community…………..over 15 times. 

Our loans not only enable people to avoid bad debt but increase financial capability of our clients. Our NILS Tasmania loan surveys for 2018-19 shows:  Of the clients that had rented goods in the two years prior to a NILS loan 68% reported they no longer rented goods through expensive consumer leases after the NILS Tasmania loan  Of the clients that reported using pay day lenders, 54% reported not using pay day lenders again after discovering NILS Tasmania  Of the people who said they didn’t use a budget before a NILS loan, 38% started using a budget after using a NILS Tasmania loan. As we’ve said the other obvious benefit of NILS work is to local economies.

Nils Tasmania already purchases regularly from over 350 suppliers throughout Tasmania. Last year we “spent” close to $3 million dollars in appliance retailers, mechanics, dental surgeries and hardware stores in small and large communities across the State. The flow on economic benefit from our loans being spent in Tasmania is a significant by-product of our loans. 

Investing in NILS Tasmania is a great way to empower Tasmanians to access safe, affordable finance in such difficult times and boost the economy. 

END For further comment or interview please contact John Hooper CEO of NILS Network of Tasmania on 0408 320 826