nilsNo Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)

MultiLink NILS continues as a specialist program serving migrant and culturally diverse clients within the Logan region. The growth of the program is reflected by the announcement made by The Good Guys Good2GoNow program in collaboration with Good Shepherd Microfinance in April 3rd 2015 that MultiLink NILS was their National highest consumer thus making it a preferred NILS Supplier. At the recent annual NILS National Conference in Sydney in June 2015 MultiLink NILS was identified as one of NILS Strongest programs and the NILS Coordinator for MultiLink was invited to showcase the strength and success factors of MultiLink’s program in a form of Video presentation and commentary at one of the workshops during the conference which was attended by 350 delegates from across Australia and New Zealand. This video is also being use as resource material for the NILS e-learning online site.

At the end of June 2015, MultiLink successfully received NILS reaccreditation, which includes geographical expansion into the inner Brisbane suburbs of Brisbane City, Milton, Paddington, Auchenflower, Toowong, St Lucia, Indooroopilly, Taringa, Chelmer, South Brisbane, West End, and Highgate Hill from MultiLink’s new branch-office at Milton.

The successful reach of MultiLink’s NILS continue to develop and a collaborative understanding has been reached with the Queensland State Manager of National Accreditation Authority for Translator and Interpreter Ltd. (NAATI), to open up accessible pathways to NILS loan for future and current interpreters, translator and bilingual workers to gain their accreditation and increase the numbers of professionals in Queensland to support linguistically diverse communities and service providers.

During this financial year, MultiLink NILS approved 112 new loans totalling $123,487 with 89 loans completed by borrowers. 16% of loans were for needed white goods, 16% computers, 23% other household items, 15% furniture (including bed, mattresses, dining furniture and lounges), 17% for other purposes (including course/educational fees, driving lessons, airfare for family reunion and Visa applications) and 1% for both repairs & maintenance.

NILS clients have come from 39 diverse cultural backgrounds, including 22% Burma, 13% Iran, 12% Afghanistan, 6.5% Sudan, 8% New Zealand, 5% Samoa, 4% each from Burundi, the Congo and Papua New Guinea, 2% each from Sierra Leone and the Philippines and 1% each or less from Somalia, Nigeria, UK, Croatia, Fiji, Iraq, Ethiopia, India, Haiti, Algeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Colombia, Liberia, Australia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Indonesia, Ukraine, El Salvador, Serbia, and Syria, Australian ATSI, Cambodia, Ireland, Mozambique, Panama, Romania and Togo.

Microfinance partnership with LECNA – StepUp!

StepUp is another microfinance partnership program between Good Shepherds and National Australia Bank, in which clients are able to borrow up to $3000 with low interest and the loan can be repaid over three years. This program becomes a stepping stone for NILS client wishing to enter mainstream financial inclusion as borrowers are dealing directly with the Bank after initial screening and support from a StepUp worker.

Multilink has been one of the best supporters of the program for many years now by forming a partnership with Logan East Community Neighbourhood Association (LECNA), as one of the local provider of StepUp in Logan. During the reporting period MultLink referred 34 clients to StepUp for interview bookings, referred 34 general enquires to LECNA and LECNA conducted 18 interview bookings from MultiLink as an outreach site. We look forward to continuing the successful partnership with LECNA to make the StepUp from program available to consumers from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.