It is taking up to six months for loans to farmers to be cleared — and new layers of bureaucracy imposed by the Financial Regulator are to blame, said IFA president John Bryan this week.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the Bank of Ireland in Kilkenny, Mr Bryan said extra bureaucracy delaying decisions on loans to farm businesses, resulting in massively increased costs.
“When we needed strong regulation of banking, we did not have it. Now that the horse has bolted, and the country is in crisis, the level of over-regulation is stifling investment.”
John Bryan said the Government needs to instruct the Regulator to ensure that applications for loans are cleared within a number of weeks, and not the current timeframe of up to six months. He said the costs of borrowing must also be reduced. “Farmers cannot be expected to pick up the tab for poor lending practices in the past by paying excessive repayment rates now.
“I am receiving complaints from all over the country from farmers who are frustrated because of the length of time it takes to get loan approval. These farmers have an excellent repayment record, substantial assets and a solid business plan. The delays they are experiencing are acting as an obstacle to their growth plans.”
The IFA president said a common application process for farm business would expedite the process. “I understand work on this is ongoing. It should be completed as soon as possible to give farmers maximum flexibility and certainty around the application process, and to improve competition between the banks.”
He said, “Past credit history must be taken into account. The farming and agri-business sector has always shown a strong commitment to meeting their credit obligations.”
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