Call for greater flexibility from banks

Roscommon IFA Farm Business Chairman Mr. Pat Leonard has said that the banks must show greater flexibility on loan duration for the agri-cashflow loans, based on the individual circumstances and repayment capacity of the farmer.

  He said: “The roll-out of the low cost agri-cashflow loans has been a very positive initiative for farming at the start of 2017. High demand clearly shows the requirement for competitively-priced working capital for farmers. However, IFA has identified a number of issues of concern to farmers in the approach of the banks. Decisions are being made on loan duration and eligibility criteria that appear not to be within the spirit of the loans.

  “In particular, IFA is concerned that banks are offering only short-term financing (12-24 months) for working capital purposes. This will be an entirely inappropriate timeframe for repayment for some farmers, and may make these farmers, who are most in need of the scheme, ineligible as a result. For these farmers, the debt that they are hoping to finance has built up over a number of years and cannot be repaid over a short period of time.”


  He concluded: “IFA has written to the banks and SBCI outlining our concerns in this area and have asked the SBCI, in its oversight role, to engage with the banks to address this. It is critical that farmers are able to access this low-cost funding and repay it in a timeframe that is appropriate to their farm enterprise.”