Banks called on to take weather into account amid reports of ‘hard-line’ approach on farm loans

Banks and other credit institutions are being called on to take an “understanding and reasonable approach” to farm loans and overdrafts.

This is particularly the case considering the difficult environment conditions currently impacting on farms, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

The chairperson of ICMSA Farm Business Committee, Shane O’Loughlin, said that there are already reports coming in of particular banks adopting a hard-line approach to repayment schedules and refusing to recognise the special circumstances applying at present.

The chairman said it is incumbent on the banks and other creditors to “look at the whole picture”.

They must also accept the reality that many of their farmer-customers are under “practically unbearable” pressures right now – especially those incurring the very sizable expenses around fodder provision, O’Loughlin added.

He added: “It makes no sense for credit institutions to derail an already finely-balanced financial situation by insisting that repayment schedules are prioritised over the ongoing viability of the farm or the health of the herd on which their farmer-customer depended.

“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 a decade ago.”