Four Credit Unions in Galway have launched a new loan product for ‘ordinary’ farmers, with loans of up to €50,000 available.
Cultivate is an initiative of four Galway Credit Unions that provides short- to medium-term loan opportunities built specifically around the growing needs of their farming members.
Farmers can borrow up to €50,000 and the money can be used for a variety of uses, including buying machinery, upgrading buildings, buying livestock, increasing cashflow.
Gort, Ballinasloe, Tuam and Loughrea are the four Credit Unions who have started the initiative.
Mick Culkeen of Tuam Credit Union said that the initiative is not just about credit. "This is the credit union reaching out to broaden the services we do for our members. Farming is a major part of the area here."
“We want to send out a message to ‘ordinary’ farmers that their Credit Union is open and has money to lend.”
The initiative was launched on Tuesday night in Galway, with farmers now able to apply for unsecured loans of up to €50,000 at 6.75pc.
He said farmers in the west had experienced a difficult winter, with rain and storms and may find it difficult to make ends meet.
“What we can offer is a personalised, face-to-face service and I would also like to emphasise that many of our staff have very close links the local rural communities,” Mick Culkeen said.
Farmers considering applying for the loan should note that this initiative is unrelated to the Government’s December announcement that it would begin proving a low-cost loan scheme for farmers commencing in early 2017 with EU money.
Under the Government-run scheme, farmers were entitled to borrow up to €150,000, repayable over six years, at an interest rate of 2.95pc.
However, all three banks involved in the Government scheme, Bank of Ireland, AIB, and Ulster Bank, recently confirmed that the €150m funding had been exhausted within just five weeks of the scheme launch.