Sector forum to progress safe borrowing options for vulnerable consumers

An industry forum for business, government and community agencies aims to ensure vulnerable consumers who need to borrow can do so safely, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi announced today.

“The Financial Inclusion Industry Forum (FIIF) will bring decision-makers from key organisations together to look at ways they can improve financial inclusion across society,” says Mr Faafoi. “While there are a number of lenders with good, ethical initiatives in place, we need to build on those to get safer financial services available for more vulnerable consumers.

While the Government is tackling poverty to provide a better standard of living for all New Zealanders, Mr Faafoi is progressing reforms that will limit practices such as high interest rates or inappropriate lending.

“While we want to put an end to these predatory practices which too often place families into a lifetime of debt and misery, there is a need for borrowing and many people do borrow to help buy things they need. We want to ensure people can do so safely, with reasonable interest rates and repayment schedules.

“These organisations coming together with a positive aim to explore how they can collaborate on safe lending is real progress.  Many are already doing great work but the forum will build on existing initiatives for vulnerable consumers – especially people experiencing hardship,” says Mr Faafoi.

Mr Faafoi will join Minister for Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni at the forum and the two will provide a closing address.

The Forum partners are: New Zealand Bankers’ Association, the Financial Services Federation, Good Shepherd New Zealand, the Banking Ombudsman, the National Building Financial Capability Trust, the Commission for Financial Capability, the Ministry for Social Development and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

The Forum will be held in South Auckland on Wednesday 18 July. There will be four breakout groups running in parallel: Inclusive Banking Products and Services – led by the Banking Ombudsman; Emergency Savings led by the Commission for Financial Capability; Microfinance led by Good Shepherd New Zealand and Cars & Car Finance led by the Financial Services Federation.