The British Bankers Association has released statistics which show that lending to farmers and other rural businesses has increased by 24% in two years – from £11.1 billion in 2013 and £10 billion in 2012. This is the highest annual rise since records began 15 years ago.
With the agricultural sector accounting for as little as 0.7% of the economy, it seems that banks are more willing to lend to farmers than any other sector. Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA, said: “An appetite to borrow is an important barometer of business confidence. With rates still low and a wide spread of lenders, there has rarely been a better time for businesses of all sectors to borrow. In their different ways, both bankers and farmers are part of a healthy and balanced economy”.
Northern Ireland and the South East have seen the most loans but Mr Browne said the lending boom was spread across every major region in the whole country.