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Lifting the lid on bank interest rates for farmers

14 December 2010

“CONSUMERS – including farmers and other small business operators – need to be able to compare ‘apples with apples’ when it comes to banking products, loan rates and portability options when considering switching banks,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Jock Laurie said today.

“In the New Year we will launch a new publication, the NFF Agribusiness Monitor – issued soon after each Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) rate announcement – which will compare and contrast the agribusiness loan rates of the major banks and non-bank institutions. This will shed new light on bank rates and products.

“Transparency – or lack of it – when it comes to agribusiness loans has long been the bugbear of farmers. Understandably, much is made each month of home loan mortgage rates, but fluctuations in business loan rates fly under the radar.

“It is virtually impossible to know, with any certainty, how your farm loan compares with others in the market, what the interest rates are and how they compare across various loan products.

“In effect, farmers, and small business in general, feel confused and helpless in making informed decisions about what loans and bank products are best for them. This makes the decision about changing your bank difficult and, ultimately, thwarts competition.

“The new INFF Agribusiness Monitor will be published in conjunction with Canstar Cannex to shadow RBA movements and track responses from the major banks and others.

“The NFF has enjoyed a constructive relationship with the banking sector, including meeting with Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig and the Australian Banking Association last week. Pleasingly, the banks are well informed on developments and attune to not only the plight of drought and flood affected farmers, but, equally, the positive prospects ahead.

“I relayed to the Minister and the banks that, beyond the natural disaster now engulfing many farmers in the eastern states, that with water back in river systems, dams full or filling and soil moisture levels headed back towards saturation, there is a lot to look forward to.”

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