Monday the 23rd of July, Croker Grain was lucky enough to be visited by NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn & Julie Rynski the Customer Executive for Regional & Agribusiness to announce important changes to their policies for Agribusiness customers affected by drought, below are the changes announced.
HELPING COMMUNITIES CHANGE AND GROW
1. NAB will proactively offer our agri customers the financial benefit of being able to offset their Farm Management Deposit (FMD) against their agricultural lending.
- FMDs play an important part in supporting farmers to manage and grow through fluctuating commodity prices and variable seasonal conditions. This offset will take the form of a discount to their lending interest rate.
- This enables NAB to quickly respond to issues raised at the recent Government drought roundtable, where they were challenged to see what prompt action we could take.
- NAB are writing to all of their customers holding an FMD to advise them of this, and encourage them to contact NAB to let them know which loan to offset the deposit against.
- NAB also supports FMDs to be allowed as security for lending. Whilst this has some challenges, including legislative change, it would give farmers access to additional security as capital to lend against.
- NAB have today spoken to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud on both these points, and we thank him for his advocacy and commitment to the rural sector.
2. NAB will do more for those agri customers affected by drought. Such customers go through particular challenges and may fall into arrears and be unable to make their loan repayments. NAB want to help at this time, not make it more difficult.
- NAB will now not charge a higher default interest rate if this does occur. This matter came up in a recent Royal Commission case, and NAB have decided that change needs to occur.
- In addiction, NAB are making two donations to the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales and Queensland Country Women’s Association, both to the value of $50,000. These donations will go to their drought relief funds which directly help farming families. NAB will also match donations of up to a further $25,000 for each organisation.
3. Communities in rural and regional Australia change, NAB wish to find better ways to support them, how NAB bring face-to-face banking services to rural communities in a sustainable way – a part of which will be looking at the future of branches in remote areas. Perhaps there is more NAB can do to sustain those services, in conjunction with the community, such as partnerships and alliances. Or NAB need to consider changes to how they leave towns, if there is no alternative.
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