Danske Bank has confirmed to AgriLand that it remains committed to the organisation’s existing farmer-customer base in Ireland. This follows a detailed review of the organisation’s Irish operation, leading to the decision that, with immediate effect, the sale of personal and business banking products to new customers will be discontinued.

“We will not be taking on any new clients,” explained the bank’s communications’ manager Caroline Douglas.

“However, all existing farmer clients that fall within our business banking definition can look forward to an on-going relationship with Danske Bank. And this will include the facilitating of overdrafts and additional credit.

“I would strongly advise all of our farmer clients to contact their relationship managers to discuss this matter in detail. I can also confirm that Danske Bank will remain active within the corporate and banking sectors. Last week’s announcement regarding the re-structuring of the business was not the first step in a complete withdrawal process from the Irish market.”

One possible grey area that does exist regarding Danske’s plans for the future is that of what actually constitutes a business banking arrangement with the organisation. Some family farm accounts may not fall within this category at all.

Meanwhile the ICMSA has told AgriLand that farmers throughout Ireland will have no option but to move bank, in the wake of ACC’s decision to remove overdraft facilities.

“The ACC and Danske Bank announcements, when taken together, represent a bad news day for Irish agriculture,” stressed ICMSA’s Cathal MacCarthy.

“Essentially, we are heading back to the good old: bad old days when a very select number of institutions controlled the finance sector here in Ireland.  Given these developments, it is crucially important for the government to keep a close and watchful eye on the charges levied by the banks.

“The bottom line is that Irish agriculture is set for tremendous growth over the coming years. In order to make this happen, farmers will need access to additional finance. But this money must be made available to agriculture in the most cost effective way possible. Farmers must not be used as a convenient option by the banks when it comes to padding out their bottom lines!”

On the issue of bank overdrafts ACC released the following statement:

“As per our previous announcement, ACC will no longer be offering current accounts or deposit accounts during 2014. They will not be in a position to offer overdrafts as such. In some instances, some agri customers may have the option of converting their overdrafts to term loans.”

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