Bank is ‘backing the industry’

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Agricultural borrowing in Scotland in the first quarter of 2013 rose by 5 per cent on the previous year and a leading banker yesterday said he expected a further increase this summer as the rising costs of the late spring fed through the system.

However Jimmy McLean, head of agricultural services at RBS, rejected any suggestion that banks were now being hard on farmers who were suffering from 2012 weather problems.

Speaking in Perth, he said the bank would support any viable business which could service their debts and he indicated RBS had approved more than £80 million in new lending since last autumn, much of it, he admitted, achieved through the “fee-free” government Funding for Lending scheme.

“As a bank we intend to grow the sector. There are opportunities there. We are looking to talk to people who are wanting to expand their businesses. We can help them.”

McLean said the bank now had a team of 27 relationship managers across Scotland dealing with farmers.