5 Jun 2019

Farmer satisfaction with banks keeps falling

3:46 pm on 5 June 2019

Farmer satisfaction levels with their banks is continuing to decline.

The latest Federated Farmers Banking Survey showed 71 percent of the 1300 farmers who responded to the survey were satisfied or very satisfied with their bank, down 3 percent on six months ago.

The drop comes off the back of a 5 percent decline in the previous survey and was the lowest satisfaction level recorded in any of the 11 surveys conducted since 2015.

Federated Farmers commerce spokesperson, Andrew Hoggard, said while many farmers had great relationships with their banks, more people had started to feel under financial pressure and had found it harder to get loans.

Federated Farmers dairy industry chair Andrew Hoggard

Andrew Hoggard. Photo: Radio NZ / Jemma Brackebush

"The day has passed where banks were pretty footloose and free with their money ... and sort of wanting to put more and more into agriculture, that's sort of changed," he said.

"I think there's been a collective decision from a number of the banks that they're exposed enough on agriculture ... and they want to make sure they've got borrowings elsewhere."

Mr Hoggard said the arable and dairy sectors were feeling this strain in particular, with more than one in five dairy farmers citing extra pressure.

"This might seem counter-intuitive, given that dairy farmers' incomes and profitability have been recovering since the 2014-16 downturn," Mr Hoggard said.

"Banks generally stood by their dairy clients during that time and allowed them to increase debt to get through. It's not a surprise that banks want that debt paid down now that dairy returns are better."

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