Australia's richest bank boosts Good Shepherd help for poor

Australia's richest bank will dedicate $30 million over three years to fund programs developed through the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and personal and business loans for low-income earners.

The Age reports that the Good Shepherd charity, a work of the Good Shepherd Sisters, will receive an injection of $10 million to its "No Interest Loans" networks and an additional $2 million through the bank's low-interest "StepUp" product, designed with the charity's input.

"We're talking about a small community finding just another bit of the jigsaw to put into place to make life more easy for people who struggle on low incomes," said Good Shepherd director Michael Yore.

The announcement came as former NAB foreign currency traders David Bullen and Vincent Ficarra faced court for the seventh day on trial for skimming hundreds of millions from the bank's foreign exchange books.

Since 2004, the bank has struggled through a purge of management and protracted navel-gazing. But NAB's chief executive of Australian operations, Ahmed Fahour (pictured), characterised the new program as an end to that mindset and a shift towards reaching out to the community.

"This is what Australia was founded on - giving people the chance to have a go," Mr Fahour told a lunch hosted by the American and Danish chambers of commerce.

The affiliation between Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and NAB has earned the two organisations last year a Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

As the rich get richer, the poor get to borrow $30m (The Age 27/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Good Shepherd Youth & Family Services | No Interest Loans Schemes
nab | Good Shepherd and the National launch unique low-interest loan (nab 23/3/04)

27 Apr 2006