By FWi staff

USE of electronic banking by farmers has more than doubled in the period from December 1999 to August 2000, according to Barclays Bank.

“Some 16% or our farming clients now use the service, set up about two years ago, and the number of users continues to grow,” Barclays agricultural policy manager Richard Lole told FWi at the Smithfield Show.

“It is not a substitute for the relationship that our clients have with their agricultural managers.

“Instead, it provides farming customers with the means to manage their day-to-day accounts at their convenience.”

Farmers are increasingly viewing the computer as an essential business tool and it provides scope for time and efficiency savings, as well as allowing them greater control and flexibility over their finances, he said.

Clients have fast access to accurate information 24 hours a day.

They can obtain balance and transaction details, transfer funds and make payments, and can access their account from any computer, said Mr Lole.

“Careful planning means that farmers can get maximum interest from funds or can minimise interest on loans,” he added.