With farmers under serious pressure due to the physical, mental and financial pressures of the current drought conditions preceded by nine very wet months, the Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm Business Committee, Mr. Shane O’Loughlin said, that our banks need to match their public expressions of support with concrete actions of support for their customers.
Mr. O’Loughlin said, that ICMSA has received reports from members across the country in relation to requests for overdraft increases being rejected or completely over the top requirements in terms of documentation for relatively small increases in overdrafts or loans. The reality is that farm incomes are going to be down substantially this year, farmers are going to need support and if our banks are serious about supporting their customers, they need to announce concrete measures that will actually make a difference. For example, banks should allow restructuring, interest only, realignment/postponement of repayments with no additional interest/surcharges and they should make available real low interest products to address the working capital deficit on farms and the processing of such applications should be completed within five working days in all cases. In addition, the level of documentation being requested in some cases is gone beyond ridiculous and track record and a long-term relationship needs to count for something rather than reams and reams of documentation.
What banks are saying publicly and the actual reality for some farmers do not correspond and concluding, Mr. O’Loughlin said, that banks need to look at their current margins from the farming community which are substantial and in the interest of their long-term relationship with farmers, reduce them and make the cost and availability of funds more flexible over the next year. The time for PR is gone, farmers need real support from their banks.
ENDS 7 August 2018
Shane O’Loughlin is at (086) 8386031.
ICMSA Head Office (061) 314677.