FinCap Pānui – August 2021

Welcome from chief executive Ruth Smithers

Tēnā koutou

We had our first regional hui yesterday and it was great to meet many of you for the first time.

I hope you all found the hui worthwhile, and I look forward to the rest we have coming over the year.

If I haven’t been able to come and visit your service, I especially encourage you to come along to our regional hui. We’ve also confirmed a few more venues and you can find more information on Te Papa Hou.

We have plenty of time for networking at each event so please don’t be shy and come and introduce yourself if we haven’t met yet.

This is a great way to continue supporting my Tangi ā te Manu (or listening tour) which I started earlier this year. I’ll use the feedback we’re hearing to improve how we work with you.

We’ll also use this feedback as part of the webinar we’re running in November with key stakeholders called What’s happening on the ground.

The Retirement Commission has asked us to run this webinar as part of the National Strategy for Financial Capability – we’ll invite you all, alongside our key stakeholders via email.

Speaking of stakeholders, we’re working with Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and the Peter McKenzie Project to help eradicate child poverty in the Horowhenua region.

You can watch the video that’s been put together about this on our FinCap Facebook page.

On another note, Sorted Money Week starts next week. This is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of financial capability with your communities.

We’ll have a few different things happening on our MoneyTalks Facebook page, so please follow along.

We’d love to see what you get up to during this week, so please email us any photos and videos we can share with the sector.

Sustainable funding

We’ve also heard your concerns about funding and we understand the importance maintaining the security of funding plays for you all​.

We’re currently approaching relevant decision-makers to explain the need for ongoing, sustainable funding for all services in the sector beyond June 2022​​ – we’re asking for your help to do this.

The best way you can support our approaches is by sharing the success you’ve been having in your community​.​

We’re developing a toolkit to help you approach your local media to make sure your stories end up in front of the right people in their daily media round-up​.​

For now, you can start thinking about some great cases studies which showcase the mahi you do and we’ll share this toolkit with you later in the year​.​

Ngā mihi mahana

Ruth

Napier Family Centre: passion for change

The reputation of Napier Family Centre precedes them, and their impact on the community is continuing to grow.

They were recently picked as a distributor for Napier as part of an initiative through The Period Place and The Warehouse to provide free period products and educational material to reduce period inequity.

For every sanitary product purchased at The Warehouse, the company will donate a pack to somebody in need and members of the public can also donate directly through to The Warehouse; these then get distributed to whānau in need by Napier Family Centre.

Read the full story on our News page

Microfinance – a life changing loan

Alleviating the stress of high-interest debt can have a life changing impact on people’s lives – a story some of Aotearoa’s microfinance lenders know only too well.

Microfinance lenders offer people who are unable to access traditional lending the opportunity to access a no or low-interest, fee-free loan to help them get out of hardship.

While these organisations are based all over the country, their loans are generally available to people all over Aotearoa alongside other financial capability support.

Read the full story on our News page

Consumer advisor training – credit law changes

What do you need to know?

There are important credit law changes coming into effect on 1 October 2021 that you need to be aware of if you help people struggling with debt.

The Commerce Commission (ComCom) is planning free sessions so you can be informed about new regulations governing affordability and suitability assessments.

Lenders will be required to keep records about those assessments and make them available to borrowers or their representatives. Learn about new rules governing all aspects of lending from advertising to debt collection.

Save the date

In person workshop session

  • Wellington Wednesday 22 September (will be recorded)
  • Christchurch Friday 24 September
  • Auckland Monday 27 September

Save the date

  • Online focused sessions on key topics such as affordability assessments and new disclosure rules for debt collection
  • A follow-up series of Zoom workshops held over the week
  • Multiple sessions on different days and times provides flexibility for attendees
  • 4 – 8 October

ComCom will be in touch very soon with more details about the workshop times and venues and how to register your attendance. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact credit.advocacy@comcom.govt.nz.

Community is key in NZBA partnership

Murupara Budget Advisory Services Trust is supporting the community

with access to digital banking (pictured above)

We have a few exciting updates on our partnership with the New Zealand Bankers’ Association.

First of all, seven services received funding from our recent proposal process to implement new initiatives that support people who are facing hardship in their communities, particularly where access to banking services is reduced. These are:

  • Murupara Budget Advisory Services Trust
  • Central Hawkes Bay Budget Service
  • Clutha Budget Advisory Service
  • Taumarunui Community Kokiri Trust
  • Paeroa Community Support Trust
  • Bay of Islands Budget Service Trust
  • Foxton Districts Budget Service

We’ll share more about the impact these projects are making on their communities with you in the coming months.

Find out more on Te Papa Hou

Communities of Practice

The appointment of our new financial mentor advisor is a significant part of this partnership. A large part of their role is to support Communities of Practice (CoPs) to form around groups of people with a common passion, concern or set of problems.

If you’re interested in joining a CoP or already have one and would like to tap into our resources, please email financial mentor advisor Bella Tioro on bella@fincap.org.nz.

Find out more on Te Papa Hou

Consumer care guidelines are now live

Congratulations to the Electricity Authority, other community organisations and energy retailers who worked towards the release of the Consumer care guidelines for electricity companies which are now live.

We look forward to seeing retailer’s commitments in public consumer care policies by December and to more retailers offering referrals to financial mentors.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming guide from FinCap on what tools the new guidelines provide for helping someone who is having difficulty paying for the electricity they need.

Update for accessing Centrix credit reports

Many financial mentors have signed up to have access to Centrix Credit Reporting when working with a client through FinCap. Client address information provided by financial mentors accessing Centrix reports through the FinCap arrangement will now be shielded.

This means a debt collection agency with a monitor on that credit file will not see an updated address that has been provided by the financial mentor when accessing a client’s report. Centrix has confirmed a new development release has rolled out that includes this change.

Find out more on Te Papa Hou

MoneyTalks and the sector – working together

Our MoneyTalks team play an important role in helping people, whānau and communities on their journey to getting themselves out of hardship.

We help put people in touch with the support services they need at that time, but we do not provide financial mentoring to the people who get in touch with us.

To give you a snapshot, our helpline team of nine operators received 2620 contacts in June 2021 through phone, email, chat and text. We are finding people want to understand what options are available to them and some are in immediate crisis and are referred to an appropriate service. Of referrals made, 60 percent are to financial mentoring services.

Our team offers wrap-around support around addressing immediate concerns – such as getting a food parcel, curtains or organisations that offer wellbeing support. The helpline presents many benefits to both services and the clients.

Read more about the role of MoneyTalks on Te Papa Hou

Draft report on retail grocery sector released

The Commerce Commission’s (ComCom) draft report into competition in the retail grocery sector has found that competition is not working well for consumers.

In November 2020, the Government asked ComCom to look at whether competition in the $22 billion a year grocery industry was working well and, if not, what could be done to improve it.

ComCom’s draft findings are preliminary and subject to consultation prior to its final report being published in late November.

Comments on the draft report are due by Thursday 26 August. You can find more information on their website.   

Milton Graham added to our quick contacts

Some of the companies we work with have dedicated lines or direct email addresses for financial mentors to call on behalf of clients, so we’re not spending valuable time waiting for a response. Milton Graham is the latest company to be added to this list. You can find the full list of contacts on Te Papa Hou.

Quick contacts on Te Papa Hou

Using a dispute resolution service

Dunedin Budget Advisory Service assistant manager Charlotte Whitaker says while clients can be reluctant to go through a financial dispute resolution service, the process can be supportive and rewarding.

Financial dispute resolution services are free, independent services for consumers to seek guidance or make a complaint about their bank, lender, insurer or other financial service. They act as an alternative to legal proceedings for resolving financial services disputes.

Read the full story on our News page

New outcomes tool in Client Voices

In case you missed it, we’ve been working with Ministry of Social Development for the past few weeks to replace the Client Outcomes Measurement Tool in Client Voices with Client-led Outcomes.

What’s been done:

  • You can now add up to three goals to a client case
  • The 10 questions in the client check In have been replaced
  • Goals can be marked as resolved
  • Wellbeing/hauora questions have been added
  • Your reports page has been updated to include new measures from these new features
  • For the definitive guide on Client-led Outcomes, you can read Client-led Outcomes: background and technical guide.

The articles above are available to you within Client Voices. Click the Support button to find them.

End of an era for longstanding financial mentor

We recently presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Margaret Elsworth of Waihi Budget Service who has retired after 20 years in the sector.

Her daughter (and colleague) Anette Reddick says she has gained so much respect in the Waihi community for all her mahi, and it’s hard for her to walk down the street without being recognised.

It’s great to hear our financial mentors are making a real difference in people’s lives, and really reiterates the impact we have on our communities.

Find out more on the NZ Herald website

Help Kiwis get a fair chance in life

The Productivity Commission wants your input to help focus a new inquiry into breaking the cycle of disadvantage in Aotearoa – help prioritise research on the areas that matter.

Have your say on the Productivity Commission website

Reminder about professional development

We have paused the delivery of professional development modules for financial mentors until we have determined the needs of the sector. This is part of the review of our training framework by the Massey FinEd Centre.

Once we have completed the review we will let you know what training we will make available.

In the meantime, we’re pleased to let you know financial mentors will continue to have access to our online learning platform Community Heart.

We’re also progressing work to support communities of practice for financial mentors.

Find out more about CoPs on Te Papa Hou

Applications open for Age friendly fund

Super Seniors has announced applications are now open for their re-named Age friendly fund. The new name reflects their commitment to the Age Friendly Communities programme.

They are now placing more emphasis on projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to age friendly communities and projects that support intergenerational connection and participation.

The next funding round for 2021 will run from Wednesday 4 August and close on Monday 4 October. Grants will be $5000 to $15,000.

Learn more about age friendly communities online

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