Thursday, 06 June 2024 11:38

MPs urged to back call for rural banking inquiry

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Federated Farmers Southland president Jason Herrick. Federated Farmers Southland president Jason Herrick.

Southland Federated Farmers are calling on the region’s MPs to throw their support in behind the organisation’s calls for an independent inquiry into rural banking.

Federated Farmers has been pushing for an inquiry into rural bank lending. The farmer lobby recently presented to the primary production select committee outlining issues faced by farmers with respective banks. The committee, made up of both government and opposition members, has also heard from the banks and rural organisations.

The committee will decide whether to make a recommendation to Parliament for the inquiry.

Federated Farmers Southland president Jason Herrick claims there are reports that MPs from both sides of the House have not been particularly impressed with the answers they’ve been getting from the banks.

"The committee can be in no doubt just how farmers are feeling. We need Parliament to stand up and ask those tough questions - and to get us

The Federated Farmers’ May 2024 Banking Survey showed the number of farmers satisfied with their banking relationship has nose-dived from 80% five years ago to just 51% today.

The survey also found that a record high number of farmers feel they have come under undue pressure from their banks Alarmingly, only one in five farmers feel they have been adequately supported by their banks during this time of high interest rates.

Herrick says their local rural communities are really hurting now and banking issues are their number one concern.

"Banks are making record profits but many of our farming families are struggling to make ends meet, with rising interest rates and low payouts.

"Farmers want to know our local MPs understand the pressures we’re under and that they’re doing something about it."

Herrick says that supporting an independent inquiry into rural banking should be a ‘no brainer’ for any rural politician, no matter their political stripe.

Supporting an independent inquiry into rural banking costs them nothing, Herrick says.

"We aren’t sitting here asking for a handout. We’re just asking for Parliament to take a closer look at our rural banking system to make sure farmers are getting a fair deal.

"We’re hearing some real horror stories about the way farmers are being treated by their banks this season - there is clear dissatisfaction.

"Farmers’ confidence and willingness to invest is really being knocked by questionable bank tactics and profit gouging, and it will end up costing our local economy."

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