A recent poll by the Wisconsin Bankers Association of Wisconsin’s agricultural bankers shows an increase in loan restructures and concerns over commodity prices. Despite these challenges, responses generally indicated a healthy banking sector ready to serve its customers. In fact, nearly 70% of the 69 agricultural bankers from around the state indicated their bank is actively pursuing new ag business.
Bankers value the farms, agribusiness, and hardworking people that make up the communities they serve,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA President and CEO. “It’s important for the ag community to have Wisconsin banks to help them through these tough times. Bankers are dedicated to serving their ag customers, even when a loan or other financial product isn’t the best solution.”
“One of our members said it best. ‘In these difficult times, just being there to listen is the most important thing we do. Saying yes is easy, saying no is difficult… and sometimes no is the most honest answer.'”
Just as Wisconsin’s banks are working to assist their agricultural customers during these challenging times, the WBA is also doing their part by recently urging Congress to take action quickly to conclude the ongoing international trade discussions. The markets have already priced passage of USMCA, however, our Wisconsin agriculture cannot wait for Congress to act. Wisconsin farmers need Congress to come together on a trade solution.
In addition to ratifying the USMCA agreement, Congress should consider providing additional resources for a Dairy Innovation Hub and also review all recommendations from the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force for potential ideas within the USMCA framework.
Wisconsin’s banking industry has a front-row seat to the difficulties that ambiguity and uncertainty are causing our state’s agricultural industry. Our farmers, dairy producers, and agribusinesses cannot wait. Congress must act now.
The survey was conducted as part of the WBA Agricultural Banker Conference in April.
Below is a breakdown of the questions and responses.
Has your volume/portfolio of ag loans increased or decreased in the past year?
Stayed the same 35%
What percentage of your ag loan customers needed to have their loans restructured in 2018?
How does the number of restructures done in 2018 compare to the restructures in 2017?
Stayed the same 33%
How many of your ag customers have fixed rate loans, greater than 3 year terms?
How many of your ag customers have fixed rate loans, greater than 5 year terms?
What do you see as the largest risk(s) associated with your bank and agricultural lending?
Commodity prices 60%
Government oversight & regulation 12%
Interest rates 15%
Land values 11%
Other (fill in the blank) 2%
How would you describe your banks efforts in maintaining/growing your ag client base?
We are pursuing new ag business 28%
We are currently servicing only our current client base 68%
Other (fill in the blank) 4%