Banks urged to take 'reasonable' approach on loans

Shane O'Loughlin of the ICMSA
Shane O'Loughlin of the ICMSA
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

BANKS and credit institutions have been urged to take an understanding and reasonable approach to farm loans and overdrafts.

With many farmers under major pressure from increased bills due to buying in extra feed and fodder, higher veterinary costs and workload pressures, the ICMSA said farmers were operating in a difficult environment.

Shane O'Loughlin, chair of the ICMSA farm business committee, said there were reports of banks in some instances adopting a hard-line approach to repayment schedules, overdrafts and refusing to recognise the special circumstances at present.

"A little bit of long-term consideration and patience will go a very long way over the next few months of exactly the same type that the banks themselves had to ask all of us for a decade ago," said Mr O'Loughlin.

The INHFA called for an interest free State loan facility directly linked to farm payments to allow farmers access up to €1,500 to pay for fodder.

Fianna Fail spokesman on food Jackie Cahill called for a new low-interest loan scheme to be made available to farmers impacted by the fodder crisis to pay for the increased costs they are facing.

"It has been estimated that many farmers are forking out an additional €1,000 a week just to keep their animals fed," said Mr Cahill.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said meetings were being arranged with the main banks to discuss steps to alleviate the short-term financial pressures.

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Bank of Ireland pointed out it has a range of supports available to farmers to purchase extra feed and maintain adequate cash flow.

It stated working capital is available for farmers who may need extensions to their overdraft facilities. It is also offering an AgriFlex loan which includes interest only repayment options to support cash flow on the farm.

AIB urged farmers who need cash flow support to contact them, with flexible working capital finance available at a competitive interest rate.

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