Banks need to step up


NSW Farmers is calling on the banks to cut the cost of lending to the farming sector. 

NSW Farmers Drought Taskforce chair Wayne Dunford said the greatest challenge for many farmers right now is finding the cash to meet standing charges and recurring payments such as interest repayments and council rates. 

“As this drought lengthens and temperatures soar farmers across NSW are looking at their balance sheets – and it’s a challenging read,” Mr Dunford said. 

“With little or no income many farm businesses are looking at their outgoings and are selling core breeding stock and anticipating a short harvest period – if any.”

Mr Dunford said NSW Farmers welcomed the NSW Government’s Farm Innovation Fund and Drought Assistance Funds with interest free periods and deferred repayments. 

“We have already called on the State and Federal Government to provide funding to Local Government shires to deliver rate rebates for the most affected farmers. We have also asked that the Federal Government look at rolling out new loan products committed at the election, along with reducing the interest rates on loans available through Regional Investment Corporation.” 

“It is now time that the banks also stepped up.”

“The majority of farm businesses will have mortgages, infrastructure loans and overdrafts. With the national cash rate at 0.75% it is criminal that banks are charging over 6% on overdrafts. With fluctuating and uncertain monthly income these lines of credit are vital to the business.

“Echoing the call by the Treasurer to pass on the recent RBA reductions in the cash rate for mortgage holders, we call on the banks to similarly cut the cost of lending to the farming sector.”

“It is disappointing that farmers with established relationships with their banks, and on which the banks have built their wealth and reputations, are paying more for their money than new customers.”

Date: 10 October 2019 
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au