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Australian farming group calls for interest rate relief

By Nicholas Robinson , 20-Dec-2012

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) in Australia has urged more banks in the country to pass on interest rate relief to agricultural customers.

According to the NFF, only four banks have so far given rate relief, just two weeks after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut theirs and the NFF made a clear call for such rate cuts to be made.

An NFF December Agribusiness Loan Monitor showed that the Australian banks BankSA, BankWest, Commonwealth Bank and Westpack had passed on rate cuts after the RBA reduced its rates to 3%, however, NFF said no banks had so far reduced rates as low as the full 25 basis points requested.

NFF president Jock Laurie said: “The December rate reduction was the sixth such cut made by the RBA since November 2011, bringing the cash rate down to 3% – a reduction of 1.5% in just 13 months. Yet agricultural lenders have shaved an average of just 1.02% off their agricultural term loans during this time. ANZ has been the bank to pass on the highest rate cuts to agricultural customers since November 2011, with a total reduction of 1.15% in its term loans, followed closely by Suncorp Agribusiness on 1.14%.%."

However, Laurie said that since RBA cut rates earlier in the month, the NFF has only seen four other banks do the same. He said: “We encourage all financial lenders to not only follow Westpac’s overdraft example and pass the full RBA interest rate cut for the past 13 months on to farmers, but also to act quickly in passing this latest cut on in time for Christmas.”

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