FUW: Banks must help
FARMERS Union of Wales officials have asked banks to help the industry through the current crisis.
While acknowledging their valuable contribution to Welsh agriculture, FUW president Bob Parry says banks have tended to increase margins and fees when viability becomes suspect. "Clearly any further reduction in finance charges would improve the prospect of survival," he says.
The union has asked banks to:
• Reduce variable interest rates on all secured borrowing to a maximum of 2% over base rate for loan accounts and overdrafts.
• Reduce variable interest rates on all unsecured borrowing to a maximum of 3% over base rate for loan accounts and overdrafts.
• Reduce arrangement fees to a maximum of 0.5% a year.
• Reduce renewal fees to a maximum of 0.25% a year.
• Postpone all management fees.
• Reserve the right to renegotiate present terms when the industry recovers.
John Page, head of Agriculture at Barclays Bank, suggests individual aid often results in a more favourable package.
A British Bankers Association delegation was also due to meet farm minister, Nick Brown, yesterday (Thurs) to press farmings case, he added. Items on the menu included lower interest rates, increased food aid to Russia and more help for farmer producer groups. *