HomeNewsLimerick no interest loans to keep the sharks at bay

Limerick no interest loans to keep the sharks at bay

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CASH-strapped people who are turning to loan sharks can now avail of an interest free loan from a Limerick organisation.

Good Shepherd Ireland has given loans of up to €1,000 to 250 Limerick people in need from every walk of life and are now looking to loan more.

“We want to expand our No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS), said Sr Margaret Lynch, Director of Good Shepherd Ireland told the Limerick Post.

“People can be very stuck if something goes wrong, if the car breaks down and they need transport to get to work. If they have to go to a loan shark, that’s a very bad road to go down.”

People looking for loans are referred by any of ten community support organisations who work in partnership with Good Shepherd.

“When someone comes through an organisation, that person already has a relationship with the organisation, so that makes it easier for us to process a loan.

“We would welcome more recognised community and support organisations in Limerick who would like to partner with us,” Sr Margaret said.

The No Interest Loan Scheme provides access to safe and affordable credit with no fees, charges, or interest. It specifically supports low-income earners and those who have been excluded from mainstream financial services.

“If someone needs money to pay for a course, or maybe they’ve been accepted to college but they struggle to pay bus fares to get there, we would give them a loan. These considerations shouldn’t be an obstacle to people bettering themselves,” Sr Margaret added.

She said the most common reason for people applying for loans is for education costs and, after that, household appliances and furniture.

Loans of up to €1000 are available for essential goods and services.  The supplier is paid directly by NILS and customers repay the loan on a schedule that suits their particular circumstances.  When the loan is repaid, the capital can then be used for another person in similar circumstances.

“NILS is based on a system of circular community credit, said Sr Margaret.

“When you repay your loan you are in effect ensuring that someone else in your community will be able to get similar support when they need it”.

The repayment rate compares favourably to that of banks and other financial institutions.

Customers who have accessed NILS loans in Limerick in recent years range from those on a direct provision payment to professional women experiencing abusive financial control.

NILS responds to the needs of customers, depending on what challenges they might face. The criteria for loan applications is set with each partner organisation individually to reflect the specific needs for their service users.

Once the loan is approved, the referral partner has no further responsibility in relation to the loan agreement, Sr Margaret explains.

“It’s important to us should someone run into difficulty with their loan repayments that it not impact on their ongoing relationship with the referring organisation.”

“We stay in contact with our customers and support them in altering their repayment schedule if their circumstances change. NILS is based on a belief that everyone has a right to safe and affordable credit” she added.

Organisations looking to discuss how a partnership with NILS could support their work should contact Margaret at gsi@rgs.ie.

Bernie English
Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ie
Bernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news.
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