KILLARNEY, Ireland–Six credit unions in the Cork-Kerry region here have joined forces as an agricultural lending program called Cultivate continues its expansion in this country.
The launch in this region, which was held in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, drew a large crowd comprising a wide range of agri stakeholders, including farmers, farming organizations, co-ops, agri suppliers and mart managers.
The credit unions involved are Ballincollig, Bantry and Kanturk in Cork, and Cara (Tralee), Killarney and Listowel on the Kerry side. Together, they have over 135,000 members and €670 million in assets, according to the Southern Star.
The new credit union farm lending offering is branded under the name, Cultivate, and was officially launched by the national chairman of the IFA Farm Business Committee, Martin Stapleton.
As CUToday.info reported earlier, Cultivate began in 2017 with four Galway credit unions coming together to develop a flexible farm loan product that suited their farmer-members. Its success was immediate, and led to other clusters of credit unions coming together to set up their own Cultivate groups. It is now available in 26 credit unions, which – collectively – cover over a quarter of the country, the Southern Star reported.
The intention is to develop Cultivate into a national brand that will provide a real alternative to banks in the provision of farm finance.
Six Months of Hard Work
“The six credit unions have been working hard on this project for the past six months,” said Brendan Heneghan, a former regional manager with Teagasc and project manager of the Cultivate brand. “They have completed a detailed business case, stakeholder meetings, market research and a bespoke training course on Farm Finance organized by Teagasc in association with Pallaskenry Agricultural College.”
The Cultivate farm loan package offers loans up to €50,000 for any farm-related purpose. At 6.55% (6.75% APR), the loan interest rate is highly-competitive.
The term of the loan can be up to seven years, depending on the purpose. Loan protection insurance is also provided on the loan at no additional charge, according to the Southern Star.
Nearly €20 million has been issued in loans to farmers in less than two years under the Cultivate brand. These loans are for a wide variety of purposes – farm machinery purchase, farm development works, livestock purchase, working capital and cash flow.