People First Credit Union launches Cultivate Farming Finance
THERE is good news for Laois farmers, with the announcement that People First Credit Union is joining Cultivate, the collaborative credit union finance lending platform for farmers.
This expansion comes less than a month after the Irish League of Credit Unions announced their support of Cultivate as the credit unions’ national farm finance brand.
People First Credit Union is the collective name for branches in Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Stradbally and Athy.
Cultivate chairperson Joe Healy said: “We are delighted to welcome People First Credit Credit Union to the Cultivate network. This announcement highlights the growing demand that farmers have to access farmer friendly finance.
“Cultivate offers a specialized finance option to farmers as we look to work with our farming members to develop their business. We offer flexible unsecured loans up to € 75,000.
“We look forward to working with People First Credit Union and all other local stakeholders as together we improve and expand the Cultivate loan offering for local farmers.”
Local decision making
People First Credit Union are one of 40 Credit Unions in Ireland offering Cultivate Agri Loans. The Cultivate product enables farmers to develop and future proof their business by providing quick and easy access to finance – farmers can borrow up to € 50,000 for up to 7 years at a variable interest rate of 6.55%, typical APR 6.75%.
So far this year, farmers are experiencing increased input costs across the board with fertilizer prices tripling in price compared to 2021, some Agri Merchants are now quoting € 900/t for Urea. Due to this, demand for credit is high and local Credit Unions are reporting strong interest and uptake for Agri lending by local farmers.
Seán Dunne, CEO at People First Credit Union, commented: “We are thrilled to be joining the Cultivate family. We have seen a growing demand from our farming members for farmer friendly finance. The credit union is about helping our members and offering Cultivate loans will have a very positive impact on our farming members. ”
2021 Cultivate performance
Cultivate also recently published analysis of their 2021 loan applications. Year-on-year, there has been an increase of 66% in the number of Cultivate loan applications received. The average loan application from farmers in all sectors was up 14% year-on-year to € 28,370.
The most popular reason for applying for a Cultivate loan was for farm buildings (24%), stocking and working capital (23%) and tractor purchases (18%). This is the first year that farm buildings have featured as the most popular use for Cultivate loans.
Commenting further, Seán said: “This announcement confirms what we have long believed: local Laois and Kildare farmers need an alternative flexible finance lender. For any farmer who wants to find out more about how to access a Cultivate loan, they can go to www.peoplefirstcu.ie/loans/cultivate or call 057 8622594. ”