The No Interest Loan Scheme saved vulnerable Tasmanians $2.8 million in interest and charges last year.
NILS Tasmania chief executive John Hooper said 2795 loans were issued last year – an 11 per cent increase on the previous year.
“We want to say to those people who are recently unemployed ‘please don’t turn to a pay day lender, don’t use rent to buy schemes where you’ll pay $3000 for a $1000 fridge’,” Mr Hooper said.
“At NILS we purchase the product or service from the supplier you choose and you only pay us back exactly what it costs through Centrepay over 18 months at a maximum of $40 per fortnight.
“We boost the local economy – last year we used 610 suppliers – and spent over $3.17 million in local economies across the state, from mechanics on the West Coast to electrical stores in St Helens.”
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Human Services Minister Roger Jaensch told State Parliament an extra $1 million in government funding for NILS had allowed more Tasmanians to be helped during the pandemic.
“NILS Tasmania, interestingly, has delivered 10.3 per cent of NILS loans nationally,” he said.
“So 10.3 per cent of NILS loans in Australia have been through NILS Tasmania, even though Tasmania only has 3.3 per cent of the national population eligible for those loans, which is a fantastic track record for NILS.”
More than 750 loans were issued from April to June this year – an increase of nearly 20 per cent on the previous year.
Mr Hooper said NILS helped make sure Tasmanian students were helped during the pandemic.
“During the rush to home learning we provided loans for over 155 laptops and tablets to families which needed them.
“This was 150 per cent more than a normal period. We saved families over $710 000 in interest compared to expensive rent to buy companies.
“That’s why pay day lenders and rent to buy companies loathe us – we know 68 per cent of our clients stop using pay day lenders once they’ve got a NILS loan, 79 per cent of clients stopped using rent to buy companies after getting a NILS Loan.”