RIC clocks up five years, $3.16B in loans

Grain Central, July 12, 2023

Regional Investment Corporation CEO John Howard (left) celebrates the anniversary with several of RIC’s longest-serving team members. Photo: RIC

THIS MONTH marks the fifth anniversary of the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) providing concessional loans to the agricultural industry on behalf of the Australian Government.

Since start-up, RIC has settled 2921 loans worth $3.16 billion to support farm businesses across Australian industries including beef, dairy, sheep, cropping and horticulture.

Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt congratulated RIC on its fifth anniversary and for its achievements so far.

“RIC concessional loans to farmers and farm-related small businesses help them to manage disruption such as drought and natural disasters and support them to recover, prepare and be in a better position to remain prosperous and grow,” Mr Watt said.

“I congratulate the RIC and its team for reaching this five-year milestone and for their ongoing work to encourage the long-term resilience and profitability of Australian farm businesses.”

“RIC was born in a period of one of the most severe droughts in recent Australian history with the introduction of the Drought Loan and AgBiz Drought Loan,” RIC chief executive officer John Howard said.

“Today our loans continue to directly support farm businesses through disruptions like natural disasters, bushfires and floods with access to the Farm Investment Loan,” Mr Howard said.

“Farmers have welcomed RIC loans assistance to improve cash flow, providing much-needed breathing space to farmers in financial need to restock, rebuild, to improve land management practices, and to mitigate potential future risks.”

During the past five years, new legislation has delivered additional loan products, including the AgriStarter Loan which launched in January 2021 to encourage first-generation and next-generation farmers to accelerate succession planning and their business journey.

“Now as our organisation matures and evolves, we are proud to be able to continue to make a valuable contribution to helping our industry become more sustainable for now and future generations.”

RIC loans can be used to refinance existing debt, invest in capital expenses and support improvements to farm business practices.

RIC facts based on RIC loan data, ABARES, and JWS Research 2022:

  • $67 million estimated savings for farm businesses in interest repayments through RIC loans in FY21-22 alone;
  • 82pc of RIC loans support sheep, beef cattle and grains agricultural industries;
  • 91pc of RIC-assisted farmers agree their concessional loan made drought recovery easier and 89% reported greater confidence in the future of their farm business;
  • RIC loans are concessional and include features such as no establishment or early repayment fees;
  • RIC interest rates are determined by the average of the Australian Government 10-year bond rate, and have increased 2.21pc between February 2022 and August 2023; this is contrast to the Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate which risen 4pc since last year;
  • The concessional rate for RIC farm business loans is 4.52pc per annum. RIC loans offer a 10-year term of five years’ interest only and five years’ principal and interest repayments.

Source: RIC


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