The new programme will see bank customers entering the industry given a face-to-face relationship manager, regardless of scale. Non-NatWest customers will be offered up to three years of free mentoring from a sector specialist as they establish their business.
The programme, which is being announced at the Royal Welsh Show today, is expected to help around 40 new businesses in Wales each year and address some of the issues faced by farmers, which were raised in a survey commissioned by the bank in January. These issues include limited succession opportunities, the inability to embrace new farming models and access to funding and varying levels of business skills. The research findings also show that young farmers hold huge economic potential and are driving significant enterprise trends in the agricultural sector. See the full report here.
The new programme will include NatWest offering face-to-face banking support through its team of relationship managers to new entrants for three years. NatWest’s network of Business Growth Enablers will also act as a hub bringing external experts and new entrants together to provide support through education, day-to-day advice, strategic planning and thought leadership. Any non-NatWest banked new entrants will be able to access mentoring through the bank’s commercial banking agricultural relationship team.
John Davies, National Farmers’ Union Cymru Deputy President, said: “The environmental, economic, cultural and social contribution of farming to Wales is unrivalled by any other industry. We want this industry to continue to thrive in the future so it is important that the next generation are given the opportunity to farm.
“I am, therefore, delighted that NatWest is launching this new scheme that will help break down some of the barriers preventing new entrants from joining this great industry. This is an exciting opportunity that will allow those entering farming the opportunity to take advantage of expert advice and investment that will foster innovation and help build resilient farming businesses.”
Alison Rose, CEO for Commercial and Private Banking at NatWest, said: “Farming is vital to the Welsh economy and across government, support bodies and customers the sentiment is clear – we must make entry to agriculture easier.
“Many mainstream banks operating in the sector have face-to-face relationship criteria which are outwith the scope of most young farmers. This means many do not have access to specialised relationship managers who understand the sector and can use their experience to guide their decision making.
“Bringing in a younger generation will help stimulate new ideas and implement change in an industry that has been dominated by tradition. It is crucial that we do this.”
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