During one of my quarterly visits to the Far North Credit Union, I was intrigued to discover the note “QF” next to several loans recorded in the cash book. I was told these were “quick fire” loans, made without any written record and no collateral, to a maximum of $50. When I asked where the idea had come from, I was told it had been given to them by New Zealand’s credit union pioneer — Colin Smith — during a training workshop.
Horrified at the idea of a loan of any size being made without a signed contract (and the subsequent default levels!) — and knowing that Colin, a chartered accountant, would never countenance such a thing — I tracked down the origins of their innovation to a presentation he had given on improving members’ experience of the loan