Vinnies Victoria offers no interest loans – our NILS scheme – to purchase essential goods and services with fair, accessible credit for people on low incomes.
Funds are provided by National Australia Bank as a philanthropic arrangement and are provided to applicants on low incomes or government benefits who have the capacity and willingness to repay.
The loans have no interest and no fees. No charges are passed on to the clients.
Loans of up to $1,500 can be provided (up to $2,000 for family violence survivors) for essential goods and services including whitegoods, educational expenses such as laptops and iPads, medical costs and equipment, as well as vehicle and household repairs. Loans are paid back over 12 months, usually via a direct deduction to benefit payments. Last financial year, Vinnies NILS approved 286 loans totalling $275,687.
A NILS agreement often means a household can replace old appliances with more energy-efficient models resulting in reduced electricity bills, too. Or the purchase of a washing machine saves the ongoing expense of using a laundromat.
Our NILS loans give people self-agency and choice
Vinnies Victoria CEO Sue Cattermole says: “Our loans are an agreement, they are not a contract. We don’t chase people, but we receive more than 95% of funds back. “We have provided finance for a lot of back-to-school costs, car registrations and repairs. If people can take care of these expenses with a NILS loan, they can free up cash to put food on the table.”
The following case illustrates how NILS works.
Sharon, a young mum who was pregnant with her third child, was pleased to hear about the NILS program when her washing machine broke down. She had been hand-washing the family’s clothes and trying to dry them in the dreary winter weather in rural Victoria. A Vinnies volunteer told her of the scheme and she made contact. Within a week, Sharon had a new washer/dryer delivered and installed.
NILS loans are available Victoria-wide. People can apply at vinniesnils.org.au or through one of our locally run volunteer groups or a local assistance centre.