SKIBBEREEN and Bandon Credit Union will launch their Agri Credit Rural Enterprise (ACRE) package at the Copper Grove in Bandon on Thursday next, March 8th.
ACRE is a new agri initiative for farmers which will offer unsecured loans up to €50,000 for the first time, as well as larger amounts for secured lending. The initiative aims to support the sustainability of country living in West Cork by offering farmers short- to medium-term lending based on their specific needs, along with providing flexible finance for farming diversification such as agri-tourism and artisan food productions, which West Cork is renowned for.
With more than €50million available for local lending, the finance can be used for stocking, reclamation, machinery purchase, cash flow and building, which will allow farmers to diversify and scope out opportunities for their business.
The initiative goes one step further to collaborate with farmers and help them make smarter borrowing decisions with the aid of a risk evaluation tool Visualyze, a farming-specific software. Visualyze analyses all relevant up-to-date market and borrower information to allow the credit union to work with the farmer to develop a business plan and projections, ensuring that the best lending solution is provided for long term benefit.
ACRE allows farmers the flexibility to match their repayments to their cashflow, allowing them to reduce risk by paying in advance during peak periods so repayments can be reduced during leaner times.
The loan can also be paid off early without penalty and also offers protection for families with free life cover.
Speaking ahead of the launch of ACRE, Donal O’Driscoll, CEO of Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union said, ‘Although Skibbereen Credit Union has been offering finance to farmers for almost two decades, it has become obvious that today’s farmer requires more help and support when planning for the future. Community-owned credit unions who are committed to rural sustainability are best placed to support rural change throughout the whole value-chain.
‘Raising sufficient capital is still a major problem facing farmers who want to progress. Locals interested in finding out more are welcome to attend the launch this coming Thursday, 8th, in Bandon or they can contact their local credit union branch.