Rabobank welcomes Drought Finance Taskforce

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has welcomed the establishment of the Federal Government’s newly-announced Drought Finance Taskforce.

Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche said the bank was fully supportive of the aims of the taskforce and welcomed the opportunity to be involved.

“The opportunity to bring together the agricultural sector’s major financial providers with government and the National Farmers’ Federation is a very positive initiative, which will help facilitate a coordinated approach to supporting drought-affected farmers and rural and regional businesses,” he said.

“Bringing together the knowledge and perspective of these key stakeholders involved in the agricultural sector will be a very positive development in providing constructive, practical outcomes for those impacted by the severe drought conditions in many parts of eastern Australia. The bank looks forward to actively participating in the taskforce.”

Mr Knoblanche said Rabobank had a range of measures in place to support its clients, who had been impacted by the current drought conditions.

“As a specialist agribusiness bank, we understand that climatic extremes – even ones as severe as the current ongoing drought – are part of the agricultural sector, not just in Australia but globally, so it is standard practice for us to support our clients through adverse conditions, where circumstances are outside their control,” he said. “In these situations, we work with clients individually and provide a range of measures to provide support through these periods.”

Mr Knoblanche said the bank’s clients in areas of Australia currently impacted by drought were, in the majority of circumstances, continuing to manage the dry conditions and remain in sustainable financial positions.

“As in previous droughts, in instances where support is required, we have been working closely with affected farmers and agribusiness operators to assist them through the current challenges and to be able to rebuild production and their financial positions when seasonal conditions improve,” he said.

Mr Knoblanche said assistance measures provided by the bank for drought-impacted clients included:

  • ‘carry on’ finance to keep viable operations running,
  • waiver of break costs on early redemption of Farm Management Deposits to allow access to needed funds,
  • deferral of scheduled loan payments,
  • waiver of fees on loan increases necessary for rebuilding operations and
  • waiver of fees for equipment finance variations.

“Where required, measures include individual agreements reached with viable clients to hold off action for agreed periods to allow them time to work through their financial difficulties and re-build their financial position when seasonal conditions improve,” he said.

Mr Knoblanche confirmed the bank was not applying higher interest rates to loans in default due to drought (in drought-declared regions) or to natural disasters, such as floods, bushfires and cyclones.

Any clients struggling with the impacts of drought, who were not already speaking to the bank, should contact their local rural manager or branch or phone Rabobank on 1800 025 484.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has nearly 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.4 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 94 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media contacts:

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525 
Email: denise.shaw@rabobank.com  

Skye Ward
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia
Phone: 02 4855 1111 or 0418 216 103
Email: skye.ward@rabobank.com