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In the age of Covid-19, there's a huge need for helping those less fortunate. Today, I want to share one of the organisations we work with pro bono and also a little about their antidote and the clients we will never work with.
Shortly after level 4 lockdown, there was some media attention about the fact that kiwis were at greater risk of debt traps from loan sharks.
With layoffs, and lots of people down to 80% of their usual pay, many Kiwi families were in vulnerable situations, and quite often, they end up turning to loan sharks - either the dodgy ones that operate in vulnerable areas or the big brand ones with friendly marketing and beautiful websites that make it very easy to access loans with crippling fees and interest rates.
Big loan sharks were spending 2020 and gearing up for growth - investing in infrastructure and recruiting in anticipation for many Kiwis needing access to credit to get out of a tight spot.
I read an article up them gearing up for this growth and I thought "f@!k that".
I've seen the way these loan sharks do their marketing, the hypnotic techniques that they use, and I see how the debt tract perpetuates social issues like child poverty, domestic violence, mental illness, and suicide - and poor health outcomes.
And I thought, let's use Mint Design's marketing superpowers and get ethical loan providers outranking these shitty loan sharks. I called Shayne - our chief exec straightaway - and I pitched my idea. He said yes before I even laid out my case and we contacted Ngā Tāngata Microfinance.
They are a not-for-profit, offering no-interest loans and they are a pathway to eliminate high-interest debt and to get out of the debt cycle.
So, people can go to Ngā Tāngata and get a zero-interest debt relief loan to get rid of their debt with loan sharks. Or, people can get asset-building loans which again are zero-interest and can be used for things like buying a laptop so you can study or so you can get reading glasses or dental work done.
One thing that I have learned in my work with Ngā Tāngata is that everyone is entitled to credit and everyone needs credit at some stage in life. I know there have been times in my life, particularly when I was a student, when I've been in that boat. Ngā Tāngata isn't about preventing access to credit, it's about making sure that access to credit doesn't result in a debt trap.
I sincerely hope that our work with Ngā Tāngata causes some pain to loan sharks, particularly those who have such huge marketing budgets and who put messaging out there to make their loans seem easy, breezy, friendly, and accessible.
Mint has formed a stance on these companies and we will never work with them, regardless of how big their marketing budgets are.
If you want to check out more about Ngā Tāngata, you check out their website here.
If you like what they do, you can donate or you can spread the word about their work.
Being Kiwis, so many of us do know someone who is at risk of being in a situation where they need credit and Ngā Tāngata is the place for them to avoid turning a short-term problem into a more permanent one.
Thanks for watching.