The WA No Interest Loans Network Inc. (with the commitment of member agencies) aims to provide families and individuals on low incomes across Western Australia with the opportunity to apply for a loan to purchase essential products and services, without the burden of interest charges or fees.
WA NILS is:
- A not-for-profit organisation
- A Public Benevolent Institution
- A Deductible Gift Recipient.
At present, WA NILS provides loans between $200 and $1,500 for the purchase of essential products and services. It is a community lending scheme with a central administration office, which services applications received from Network Members throughout Western Australia and from clients who apply direct online. Network Members are community organisations and welfare groups located statewide, from Kununurra in the North West, to Esperance in the South East. Around 30% of our loans are approved for applicants of an indigenous background.
WA NILS is not merely a loan scheme. While applicants should understand that there is an expectation that loans are repaid, and that they will be entering into a formal loan agreement, the process involved in obtaining the loan has proven to be an outstanding social success in Western Australia.
Applicants are encouraged to obtain the necessary support information for the loan themselves. This includes obtaining proof of income, proof of expenditure, and quotes for the items being sought. From the applicant’s point of view, it is often the first time they have been in a position to discuss and negotiate the price of an item with a provider, and while daunting for some, most applicants relish the experience. This empowerment, and the sense of achievement the applicant gets when the deal is finalised cannot be overemphasised
The providers/retailers also know that if theirs is the preferred quote, they will be paid directly from WA NILS; effectively a cash deal for them.
History of WANILS
Establishment of the WA NILS Network
In February 1999, the Minister for Family and Children Services (FCS), the Hon. Rhonda Parker announced the replacement of the Departmental Furniture Assistance Loans Scheme, with a community based No Interest Loans Scheme, and that funding would also be enhanced to establish the new scheme.
In August 1999, the Minister for FCS signed a memorandum of Understanding with Anglicare WA to act as a sponsor of the No Interest Loans Service (NILS) Network from the period August 1999 to 31 December 1999.
WA NILS uses capital from the National Australia Bank and this money is replenished as loan repayments are made. Operational funds are derived from support via The Department for Child Protection and Family Support and the Federal Government through The Department of Social Services in association with Good Shepherd Microfinance.