National Australia Bank has announced that it will provide up to A$1 million in interest-free loan capital and additional funding to assist Traditional Credit Union expand its banking services for Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.
Under the arrangement, National Australia Bank (NAB) will provide Traditional Credit Union (TCU) with interest free loans of up to A$1 million with no fees or charges to fund the opening of branches in remote locations in the Northern Territory, providing access to financial services for more than 3,250 indigenous customers, in the next five years.
In addition, NAB has created a grant, to the value of A$200,000, for the TCU to fund activities as the new branches are opened over the next five years such as advertising, legal costs, development of brochures and website upgrades.
The first new TCU branch is scheduled to open in Angurugu on Groote Eylandt in June 2008, with further four branches in remote and regional areas of the Northern Territory. NAB will provide TCU customers with access to NAB’s microfinance programs including the NAB Microenterprise Loan program.
Ahmed Fahour, NAB’s executive director and CEO Australia, said: Indigenous Australians are the most financially excluded group in this country and there is a growing demand for basic financial services. This arrangement with the TCU is a critical step in demonstrating our long term commitment to the aspirations of Indigenous Australia.
Cathy Hunt, general manager of TCU, added: The costs to open new branches and the high costs of delivering financial services to remote areas has meant we haven’t been able to expand as quickly as we would have liked. The arrangement with NAB removes some of those obstacles.