Cro Report Highlights Weaknesses in Bank Lending

IFA President John Bryan has stated that the lending weaknesses in the banks identified by the latest report from the Credit Review Office must be addressed to support viable farm businesses who are investing in their businesses.

John Bryan was responding to the Report’s findings, which showed that, while the banks were supporting low risk lending proposals from well-established customers, there is insufficient support for ‘enterprise risk taking’ on new and increased lending.

He said, “Farming is a capital-intensive business and farmers must reinvest on-farm to maintain and improve the efficiency of their enterprises. It is not sufficient that the banks support lending based on past credit requirements only. Additional support is required for viable credit applications for farmers investing in the expansion of their businesses, and for new entrants to farming.”

He continued, “I will be meeting shortly with John Trethowan, head of the Credit Review Office, to discuss with him the key concerns for farmer borrowers. In particular, the length of the application process, a lack of clarity on the information required upfront, and the associated costs arising from this remains an issue.”

Mr Bryan also highlighted the flexibility that is required by banks when calculating security requirements. “The cost of security remains a significant issue for farmer borrowers. It is critical that bank officials familiar with farming are involved in the decision-making process, and that the amount of security required is appropriate to the farmer customer, taking into account track record, size of borrowing and location.”

IFA Farm Business Chairman, Tom Doyle, said, “It is important that farmers avail of the services of the Credit Review Office (CRO), where they are not satisfied with the outcome of a credit application. The rate of turnover of bank decisions by the CRO is very high, and this is an important additional mechanism to deliver more timely credit decisions. The CRO provides a formal review of a loan application but will also look at cases where borrowers feel that the terms and conditions of their existing loan, or a new loan offer, are unfair or have been unreasonably changed.”

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