The latest lending figures available show strong and increasing support for farming from the banking sector, with the positive nature of investments tending to position agriculture as a positive contributor to economic recovery.
Gareth Oakley, Agriculture Director at Lloyds TSB
In March total lending to agriculture was up nearly 2.8% on the year before, building on growth of 6.2% for the previous 12 months. This compares favourably to the widely reported view that there is an overall contraction in lending by UK banks to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Leading the way in the increased support to farmers is Lloyds TSB Agriculture, lending an extra 14.9% to British farmers in March 2011 compared to March 2010.
“Agriculture is a key business for the Lloyds Banking Group not just because of its unrivalled credit history, but because of its future potential,” says Gareth Oakley, Agriculture Director at Lloyds TSB.
“Most importantly, the vast majority of the growth in our lending to agriculture is being used for investment to make farms more efficient and profitable.
“Because farming has been such an important business for us for so long and we have an extensive network of specialist agricultural bank managers, we understand the everyday needs of farmers as well as their longer term business aspirations. We are committed to developing our team as we know they provide a service that is increasingly valued by farmers who are building their businesses.”
The growth in lending to agriculture is mirrored by a growth in total lending to SMEs by the Lloyds Banking Group. In the 12 months to March the group increased lending to businesses by more than 2% which compared to a fall for the overall banking industry sector. Under Government targets the Lloyds Banking Group is committed to lending £10.3 billion to SMEs in 2011. In the three months to the end of March it had already lent £3.3 billion.
“We have made clear commitments not only to lend, but to encourage enterprise,” says John Maltby, managing director commercial at Lloyds Banking Group. “We approve more than 80% of the loan and overdraft applications that we receive.”
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