With more than two decades of experience working in the financial sector in both New Zealand and Samoa, Lele Faifai is motivated to help Pacific people learn to use their hard-earned money wisely.
Lele has joined NZCU Employees as a Lending and Business Development Manager. NZCU Employees is a Credit Union based in Penrose, Auckland. They offer a range of services for individuals, similar to what banks offer, but instead of working for profit, they work for their members, offering competitive interest rates on savings, low cost loans and reasonable fees.
“What I like about working for the New Zealand Employees Credit Union (NZCU Employees) is that we offer very competitive rates for investing or borrowing. Joining the credit union gives you the ability to voice your opinions that helps make a difference to the organisation,” she says.
Born and raised in Samoa, Lele first came to New Zealand for her schooling in the 1980s. She returned to Samoa, and ended up working at the Pacific Commercial Bank in Apia which became part of Westpac in the 1990s.
After returning to Auckland, Lele remained in the industry, working for BNZ. She also spent some time in real estate when she heard about the position at NZCU Employees, Lele saw it as a genuine opportunity to help her people.
“Too many of our people don’t fully understand what they’re getting into, so they get into problems with too much debt which they can’t manage,” she says.
“NZCU Employees aims to make the debt more manageable because our lending rates start at 10.5%. If they’re paying high rates through a finance company, we can help them with a debt consolidation plan. We also teach them the habit of saving with a compulsory savings account. You don’t have to have a lot of money to start a good habit like saving.”
Being fluent in Samoan, Lele is able to explain to her community the benefits of membership with NZCU Employees. It also has its own licensed banking system which gives it greater control compared to the vast majority of finance companies.
With the responsibility to reach as much of Auckland’s Samoan community as she can, Lele is as keen as ever to learn more about her industry. Shortly after joining NZCU Employees she attended a mortgage brokering course run by the Professional Advisors Association.
Lele is keen to spread the word, knowing her community will benefit from her experience and desire to help her community.
“I enjoy this job a lot because it’s not all about profit. It’s about our members, and they’re the ones who benefit.”
Visit the NZCU Employees website