This week, Ulster bank announced that it was to sell €100m of agri-loans as part of a total distressed loan book disposal of €2.5bn. The news comes at a time when Irish farming is already on its knees with debt on the rise on a huge number of Irish farms.
While many people will feel 'Here we go again, Farmers in distress', we wonder, do these people understand the effort that our farmers put in to give people a high quality product to consume on a daily basis. Then, to top it all off, farmers are forced to produce this high quality product at a loss due to the poor price they are receiving.
The one thing the bank is forgetting about is that Irish farmers are the most resiliant peolple on the planet, and despite this move, they will find a way to move on. The banks should stick with Irish farmers, because at the end of the day, the Irish farmer will be here in 25 years time, can you say that about todays property developers? I wouldn't 'Bank' on it!
ICSA Reacts to Ulster bank move:
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said he is deeply concerned about the selling off of €100m of agricultural loans by Ulster Bank,
“ICSA believes that banks should have a long-term view about their business with key customers such as farmers so this is bad news for those who wished to resolve their business dealings with Ulster Bank over time”, he said.However, Mr. Sherlock was keen to stress that
“Following our recent meeting with the Financial Ombudsman, ICSA was able to clarify that whatever rights of complaints customers have with Ulster Bank would be carried over and must be recognised by the new owner of the loan. This is not ideal but may go some way to reassure agricultural borrowers in distress.”Continuing, Mr Sherlock said
“Many of the loans that are included in the sale will belong to private individuals trying to hold onto their family home or farm. ICSA believes that anybody who is keen to find a resolution to their financial difficulties be given every opportunity to negotiate a realistic outcome over the long-term. We would also have concerns that this move by Ulster Bank will set a precedent and be replicated by the major Irish banks.”IFA Reaction to Ulster Bank move:
IFA President Joe Healy has expressed concern at today’s announcement by Ulster Bank of its plan to sell €100m of agri-loans as part of a total distressed loan book disposal of €2.5bn.
Joe Healy said,
“Following IFA meetings with Ulster Bank senior executives in March and early April, Ulster Bank had written letters to all farming customers inviting them to engage by May 31st which was two months later than the bank’s initial deadline”.The IFA President added,
“IFA expects Ulster Bank to be flexible with the 31st May timeframe and to work constructively with farming customers who are actively seeking a workable solution that would allow them to remain with Ulster Bank if they wish”.IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton concluded,
“I am encouraging Ulster Bank farming customers who are concerned about the loan sale to make contact with their relationship manager. At no time should farm loans be sold by a bank where there is a genuine borrower actively engaging to identify a viable repayment plan”.