Mitchelstown Credit Union offering Cultivate farm loans

Pictured out and about meeting the farming community are Colin Irwin, Anne Baker (chairperson of North Cork IFA) and Brian Whelan.

The credit union farm lending project is modelled on a pilot initiative by four credit unions in County Galway who launched the brand Cultivate.

This was followed by credit unions in Clare, Limerick, and more recently 4 credit unions in Cork.

Since its introduction, Cultivate farm lending has proven very popular with farmers in each of the counties and to date the 13 credit unions offering the Cultivate brand have issued circa €10 million in loans to the farming community.

Credit unions are a not for profit movement and are all about serving their loyal membership. Credit unions have been embedded in local communities for over 50 years where all profits go back to support the community and its members, this is one of the key reasons credit unions have been consistently rated the number one organisation in customer satisfaction surveys.

Colin Irwin, CEO, Mitchelstown Credit Union, said: “Going out and consulting with the stakeholders was seen by the group as an important first step in engaging with the farmers when introducing the Cultivate brand. The feedback from the consultation combined with detailed market research has been invaluable in identifying the real needs of farmers. They value the face to face relationship and the “personal touch” a credit union has to offer where a farmer can come in and discuss his or her requirements.

“Farmers value a speedy loan application process and the fact that no security may be required for the loan. Competitive interest rates are obviously an important factor due to the nature of cash flow on a farm. Flexibility repayment options are also a key in the success of the Cultivate product.

“The Cultivate farm loan package can offer up to €50,000 in loans over a 7-year period at a rate of just 6.55% (6.75% APR) for a variety of purposes, such as, working capital, livestock purchase, farm development, farm machinery purchase, start-up finance for young trained entrants to farming”, Colin said.

Colin continued: “Farmers want to deal with people who have a knowledge of agriculture and understand farming. Credit union farm loan officers in Mitchelstown, Mallow, Synergy and Youghal Credit Union recently completed an intensive Farm and Finance Training course organised by Teagasc and Pallaskenry Agricultural College and can discuss all matters of farming on a one to one, the 4 credit unions are delighted in Cork to be in a position to offer the farming community a loan package that will meet their financial needs”.

Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating which may limit your ability to access credit in the future. T&Cs Apply. All Loans Subject to Approval. Credit Unions in the Republic of Ireland are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.