‘Every single farmer is different and we always take that into account.’

A business is about people as well as headline financials, says Rural Asset Finance head of credit ANDREW YOUNG 

Rural Asset Finance prides itself on providing a personal service tailored to each individual customer – and that extends to our credit function.

“We take every application on its own merits and strive to understand how each of our customers businesses work” says head of credit Andrew Young. “Of course we have a stringent and responsible credit policy which guides our decisions, but every deal we transact is manually underwritten and we try to read between the numbers and take into account the current economic environment and the challenges and opportunities our customer is facing. Through engaging with our client in such a manner it enables us to make better informed credit decisions and deliver to our customers financial solutions which best meet their needs.

This human approach, says Andrew, is key as “each farming sector has its own unique idiosyncrasies – a dairy farmer’s financial profile and pressures will be different from that of an arable farmer, which in turn will be different from that of a poultry farmer and so on. We understand these differentials and endeavour to take these aspects into account in our underwriting of transactions which some funders, notably those who employ a computer based automated credit decision platform, are unable to do.”

Where RAF’s personal and individual service comes into its own is through the client site visits which, wherever feasible, are undertaken by members of the team. “We always gain a lot of information from customer visits,” says Andrew, “as they provide an invaluable insight and understanding of a client’s business and importantly enable us to meet the owners and build personal relationships. Just as we want to be confident in their business, we want the client to be confident in RAF and the service we offer and ultimately to forge long term collaborative relationships “.

Sometimes the best way to look at a potential deal properly is that visit. “Nothing gets you an understanding of a business better than going to see it in action,” he says. “You meet the people and see how it all fits together. You’re not going to get that from Google Streetview.”

Such an individual credit process, adds Andrew, enables RAF to write transactions which would likely fail credit criteria of other lenders.

“Headline financials do not always tell the entire story, especially in the agricultural sector,” he says. “We at RAF try to combine a professional and responsible approach to our lending whilst providing a friendly, informative and supportive experience for our customers. This mantra sits at the core of everything RAF does.”

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