Agri banking: More than just a transaction

Personal banking is easy. Not so agri banking.Farmers and growers’ choice of institution and banker has the very real potential to impact greatly on the long term profitability of the business.

A good agri banker has specialist farm gate knowledge and the bank itself is more than just transactional.

South Island farmers James and Pauline had been with one bank for a long time. An incident happened that led them to switch banks and the couple invited the major rural banks to present to them.

There was little difference in the financial offerings from each of the banks, says Pauline. In the end they chose the one that had been courting them for a number of years.

Well before they even considered switching they had been invited by their future bank to seminars, and networking events where they could mix and mingle with other dairy farmers.

In the past banks have rotated staff, especially younger ones through various roles. Whilst this might give the staff member a broad knowledge, it doesn’t work well for clients.

In James and Pauline’s case the old bank had given them eight managers in ten years. At the new bank the same manager had held his local position for nearly a decade, says Pauline. They had built up confidence that the banker, whom they had learned to trust, would remain in the role.

Like many banks the new bank offered an education programme, which has made a massive difference to the couple’s business. “There is still a tall poppy syndrome in our area and farming is quite solitary. Meeting others at the (education) sessions gave my husband the courage to try something new.”

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