David Littleproud, the Federal Agriculture Minister, has targeted the Commonwealth Bank for not contributing enough to assist drought-affected farmers.
He said that the Commonwealth Bank was failing with regard to drought assistance and he urged farmers to quit the bank if it doesn’t offer some more support.
He went on to say that he found it disappointing that the Commonwealth has not given farmers options to offset their loan with farm management deposits.
The farm management deposits were a way for farmers to put money away for a not-so-rainy day so that they can recover after a drought.
Mr Littleproud said the NAB and the Rural Bank were both allowing farmers to use offsets to cut the interest on their loans but that the other major banks weren’t doing that.
He said that “CBA can do better” and that he hoped they would have “more serious announcements” on the way.
He said that the CBA has “made a lot of money” from agriculture and that it was appropriate they “give back”.
A spokesperson for CBA said that amongst other options they were considering offering FMD offsets. They said that it was “a complex process” but that it was “one of a number of options” that were being considered.
They said that they were working closely with Mr Littleproud and the Government “on finding additional ways” to provide assistance to farmers.
They also said that the bank has already announced a series of measures to help farmers, including a $2 million donation.
The donation will see most of the cash go to the Red Cross effort with $250,000 going to the Rural Aid program: buy a bale.
Mr Littleproud pointed out that the donation was only one five-thousandth of CBA’s almost $10 billion yearly profit.
He said the he encouraged farmers “to vote with their wallets”.