Ngā Tangata Microfinance celebrates 7 years of life-changing impact

Ngā Tangata Microfinance (NTM) is thrilled to have the Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues, join its celebration in West Auckland on 23 February.

This marks seven years of collaboration between Ngā Tangata, Kiwibank and services that build financial capability.

Partnering with local budgeting advisors and with capital provided by Kiwibank, NTM has disbursed more than $700,000 in no-interest no-fee loans to more than 320 clients, since operations began in 2011. Nearly 75% of this support brings relief from high-interest debt.

The celebration acknowledges all the partners, associates and supporters who have enabled NTM to reach these milestones, making a real difference for whānau and families.

Particular acknowledgement is made of Kiwibank’s recent announcement of further capital support.

The event will also share the findings of a recent impact evaluation survey which highlighted how NTM’s no-interest loans, alongside budgeting and financial education, were crucial in helping low-income clients break the cycle of debt caused by predatory payday and fringe lenders.

Survey respondents described how the no-interest loans had hugely improved their well-being and peace of mind, and reduced family stress.

"One respondent told us, ‘there is finally light at the end of a long, dark tunnel’," said NTM’s Executive Officer, Robert Choy. That reduction of stress - and the desire for a better future for themselves and their families - was a common theme.

Since starting, NTM has expanded the availability of its interest-free loans to budgeting services in wider Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Manawatu, Levin, Taranaki and Dunedin.

The lack of legislated consumer protection from the fringe lending sector, and the need for relief from debt-induced poverty, signal that NTM will need to continue its mission for more years to come.