IFA seeks meeting with Ulster Bank over loan disposals

Farmers’ lobby is concerned at bank’s plan to sell-off batch of loans to third-party investors

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) is seeking an urgent meeting with Ulster Bank in the wake the lender's decision to sell-off a fresh batch of under-performing loans to investors.

The bank is reported to have contacted a large number of farmers and small businesses in rural Ireland advising them they should either repay or refinance their debts, or risk having them sold to unidentified third parties.

The move is said to be part of an initiative aimed at clearing outstanding debts with long-term arrears from the bank’s books.

The IFA is requesting a meeting senior staff at the bank to discuss the matter.

"Farmers are shocked at the announcement, and IFA has demanded an urgent meeting with management," IFA farm business chairman Tom Doyle said.

“IFA has voiced farmer concerns that the move will force them to deal with unknown third party funds who have little or no knowledge and understanding of their business and the farming sector,” he said.

“The banks must work with these customers to find long-term sustainable solutions that work for all parties. This move by Ulster Bank raises serious questions about their commitment to these farmer customers who require suitable restructuring arrangements to bridge temporary cash flow and repayment issues,” Mr Doyle added.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times