Episode 29 – Why is the spotlight on rural banking?

In PodcastsJuly 12, 20243 Minutes

Rural banking is a hot topic. The government says it has heard farmers’ concerns about a disparity between rural and urban bank lending practices, and has requested an inquiry into the state of competition in New Zealand banking, with a particular focus on rural areas.

Hear from those in the industry about why they believe this inquiry is needed, whether the current situation is unfair to farmers, and where personal business responsibility fits into this. Federated Farmers also outline the results of their latest banking survey, and what they hope will come from the inquiry.

Guests include:

  1. Andrew Laming, Director, NZAB
  2. Nick Hawken, National Director (Rural), Bayleys Real Estate
  3. Richard McIntyre, Banking Spokesperson, Federated Farmers


  1. Rebecca Greaves, Editor, Country-Wide
  2. Sarah Perriam-Lampp, Managing Director, CountryWide Media

New Zealand Agri Brokers director, Andrew Laming, walks Rebecca through the context behind the banking inquiry; he says it comes down to the question of do we want an economy built on investing in property, or do we want to invest in agricultural businesses that impact us on the world stage, fund exports, and invigorate provincial New Zealand. 

Bayleys Real Estate National Director Rural, Nick Hawken, says it’s a question of fairness – is what farmers are paying in interest every year fair compared to what other parties get charged? He says the longer term discussion needs to be around access to funds, and how farmers will be able to continue paying off that debt. 

He discusses where succession fits into this, and where the opportunities are in leasing family land, or overseas investment. Given the cyclical nature of farming, recognising opportunities within the cycle will be key to finding alternative capital within farm businesses.  

Federated Farmers Banking Spokesperson Richard McIntyre says since he stepped into the role last year he’s regularly heard directly from farmers about how they’re being treated by their banks. One in four farmers feel under undue pressure from their banks according to Federated Farmers, and they’re welcoming the inquiry into rural bank lending. 

He says one thing they’d like to see is banks signalling well in advance of any changes they make, so farmers have time to adjust and prepare their businesses. However, farmers should also take the lead in being more proactive with their bank managers, and ask questions of them. 

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