Farmers urged to stay in touch with creditors

Lenders say farmers worried about their finances due to market disruptions should contact them for help as soon as possible before their situation becomes too dire.

BMO announced a specific financial relief program for western Canadian grain farmers, while other lenders say they have ongoing programs available.

BMO regional president for the Prairies John MacAulay said both unfavourable growing conditions and external market forces have affected farmers.

“We always stand by our customers and hope this program will help alleviate some of the challenges they have been facing,” he said in a news release.

BMO’s program for both new and existing customers includes principal payment deferrals, flexible terms on operating lines based on 2018 inventories and 2019 crop input costs, and some fee waivers.

RBC national agriculture director Ryan Riese said it has an adverse event policy that is always in place to offer customers options to deal with things like weather disasters and fire.

“This would fall into that category as well,” he said.

Those options include things like principal deferrals and operating line increases.

“We’re very much working with our clients on tailor-made solutions,” he said. “Every client is different.”

Riese said RBC encourages its account managers and customers to start the planning process early.

The Canadian Credit Union Association says some agriculture members are under pressure but are working on support options on a case-by-case basis.

“Some producers are mitigating their risks by adjusting seeding plans and deferring major expenditures such as equipment or land,” said a statement from CCUA. “Credit unions are closely monitoring the impact of the canola trade issue on members and may revisit their support strategies, if there is widespread pressure due to a prolonged trade dispute.”

Farm Credit Canada offered a similar response, noting that FCC customers should contact their relationship managers to discuss repayment options.

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