Including agri-loans in Ulster Bank debt sale disappointing, says UFU

Tuesday, 11 October, 2016

The Union comment on the recent sale of a debt package by Ulster Bank, which included a small number of agri-loans.

Article key points

  • Disappointing that agri-loans have been included in this debt package sale.
  • UFU became aware of this earlier this year and met the banks.
  • Urged the banks to work with farmers rather than take a hard line approach.
  • UFU keen to see banks continue to work with customers in an open and supportive way.

“It is disappointing agri-loans have been included in this debt package sale. We understand that only a small number of farmers are involved, but I can imagine the impact this will have on those businesses and families.  If anyone affected is a UFU member, I would encourage them to contact the Union for advice and support,” said UFU president Barclay Bell.

Earlier this year the UFU became aware that Ulster Bank was planning to sell off some of its agri-debt.  “We underlined our concern then, and urged the bank to work with farmers rather taking a hard line approach. Everyone recognises that farming is going through tough times and we met the banks earlier this year to explain the situation facing farmers. To their credit they listened and took action,” said Mr Bell.

The UFU is keen to see banks continue working with their farm customers in an open and supportive way. “Communication is key. I would encourage farmers to keep the lines of communication open with their banks and for banks to do the same. In most cases, the banks are already using the close relationships they have with farm customers to explore other options before opting more hard line strategies and I would like to see this continue,” said Mr Bell.