BNZ brings financial relief to drought-affected farmers
BNZ today announced a package to provide immediate financial relief for affected farmers, in anticipation of the government's drought declaration being extended beyond the Northland region.
The bank is empowering front line staff to offer immediate overdraft approval of up to $100k at a special 6% interest rate alongside immediate access to emergency family funding of up to $10,000. Additional funds are available if required through normal approval channels. The package has been rolled out across the country to provide much needed relief from the financial pressure caused by this summer’s unusually low rainfall.
BNZ head of Agribusiness Richard Bowman says while the drought hasn't been officially declared in many areas, farmers and their families are finding it tough now.
“Right now farmers need fast access to funds as they’re coming under enormous pressure with the challenge of feeding their stock. This could result in increased feed costs, reduced production and reduced stock prices as they off-load surplus stock, placing further strain on cash flows.
“We want to offer them some breathing room to make the right business decisions while they protect livestock and look after themselves and their families."
To further support rural clients during what has been a difficult few months, the bank will make donations of $5,000 to each local Rural Support Trust chapter in a declared a drought zone and has developed a financial planning tool, available via the Rural Support Trusts and BNZ Partners, to assist farmers to assess their own requirements when faced with an adverse climatic event.
The relief package is not limited to declared drought areas and is open to BNZ agri-customers adversely affected by the dry weather. Mr Bowman estimates that the majority of the bank's agri customers in drought affected areas will be affected in some way by the issue.
The funding can be used for any additional working capital requirements arising from the additional costs or loss of income associated with the drought.