New banking partnership to support British farmers

Farmers who are struggling to obtain funding for urgent or complicated projects can now secure finance through a new banking partnership.

UK Agricultural Finance and NatWest have joined forces in the first partnership of its kind, to offer responsible, secured loans to farmers who may not have immediate access to high street lending.

The agricultural lender - founded in 2015 and backed by leading financiers, family offices and private equity firms - has become the first agricultural specialist to join Capital Connections; NatWest’s panel of leading alternative lenders. Set up to offer complementary sources of capital to small and medium-sized businesses, Capital Connections signposts NatWest customers to innovative sources of finance outside of its traditional high street arm.

“Mainstream agricultural lenders are very good at offering conventional loans, but it can be more difficult for farmers to access funding for business development, diversification or restructuring,” explains Robert Suss, co-CEO of UK Agricultural Finance. “Often projects are urgent or complex, requiring a bespoke solution rather than an off-the-peg package.

“As agricultural specialists, we understand farmers’ needs, and can create a loan to suit their circumstance, whether that’s providing for delayed repayments or higher loan-to-value ratios. We also believe passionately in responsible lending, helping to protect our borrowers, investors and the wider rural community.”

Ian Burrow, NatWest’s head of agriculture and energy, agrees that traditional funding routes are not always the best option for businesses in the rural community. “Now UK Agricultural Finance will be able to provide loans to help farmers diversify or grow, ease generational transfer, or purchase tenanted farms, for example. They are an ideal partner for us and complement the impressive and innovative range of alternative lenders already on the Capital Connections panel.”

Lord Davies of Abersoch, chairman of UK Agricultural Finance, says the new partnership will be transformational in supporting the farming community with access to flexible and reliable finance. “The pressure on British farmers to be globally competitive, innovative and eco-friendly is greater than ever. This partnership will enable us to provide more rural businesses and farmers with vital access to capital to enable them to diversify, sustain, grow and improve their businesses.”

Loans of between £100,000 to £10 million are secured against agricultural land and property across England, Scotland and Wales. Terms are available from one to seven years with a maximum loan-to-value of 65%.