Short help for farmers facing low long term returns
ANZ says it will stop kicking embattled farmers off their land for the next twelve months.
Queensland farmers worried about losing debt-laden farms will have a small reprieve, with ANZ announcing a moratorium on re-possessions for their properties.
It comes after reports earlier this year, in which Fairfax Media revealed that a number of banks were forcing about a dozen Queensland properties to the market to claw back about $50 million owed to them.
New reports say about $10 million of that figure has been regained, but about 46 farms have since gone into receivership across the state.
It is something that banks and governments need to sort out for the long-term benefit of all, but in the short-term ANZ says it will give graziers in Queensland and parts of NSW a break.
“The aim of these measures is to ease financial concerns of farmers and to demonstrate ANZ’s commitment to working with them through the cycle,” ANZ Australia chief Philip Chronican told the AFR.
The bank also will not raise interest rates on distressed farms for a year.
The Federal Treasurer and Agriculture Minister have welcomed the move, saying they prefer banks take this kind of action rather than having to force them via regulation.
A recent report from the Agriculture Department found that the proportion of borrower more than 90 days in arrears has increased from 1.9 per cent in 2012 to 3.4 per cent in 2014.
Other banks including Westpac say they do not need such a moratorium, claiming they have better lending practices and limited exposure to the sector.
Of its 5,000 agricultural clients, Westpac says only six have been forced into receivership.
The National Farmers’ Federation says $100 million in concessional loans recently put up by the Federal Government to not go far enough to ease farmers’ woes.