Speaking on the second day of the IFA Annual General Meeting, IFA President John Bryan said that the restructuring of the Irish banks must result in a return to core business.
Mr Bryan said, “Over the last decade, banks built up huge, unsustainable, property-based loan books. The restructured banks must focus on supporting the SME sector, particularly farm businesses. Bank personnel in branches must be appropriately trained in order to properly assess credit applications and provide the ongoing borrowing requirements of individual farm enterprises.”
He continued, “After two very difficult years, farmers are again looking to invest in their businesses. Farmers are rightly concerned about the increasing costs of borrowing, which may provide a disincentive to expansion. It is vital that borrowing costs are kept competitive.”
Michael Dowling, head of AIB Agri-Strategy, addressed the AGM and said the key challenges were rising input prices, market volatility and the CAP negotiations.