Banks urged by ICSA to treat farmers fairly

SOUTHERN STAR – 6 NOVEMBER 2016

LETTER: Banks urged by ICSA  to treat farmers fairly 

SIR – Following revelations that Ulster Bank has sold a share of its loan book to vulture funds, I am again calling – on behalf of the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association – on the banking sector in Ireland to take a long term view in its dealings with their valued customers from the farming fraternity. In recent days, many farmers have received letters from their lender advising them that their loans have been sold which in many cases has led to panic, fear and uncertainty.

I have been contacted by many farmers, who are distressed that their loans have been sold off to vulture funds. They are essentially being shipped off to deal with unknown fund managers whose knowledge of the farming industry could be quite limited. ICSA has already met the Financial Ombudsman to highlight our members concerns and we have been assured that the account holders must be given the same treatment by fund managers as afforded by the original lender.

Farmers are already experiencing major stress and difficulties with poor prices and inclement weather without having the added burden of their finances being handed over to strangers. I am calling on the banks to treat farmers fairly as our industry has supported banking sector for decades.

Seamus Sherlock,

Rural Development chairman.