RURAL Finance Corporation managers have assured Wimmera farmers there will be better services on offer following the sale of the corporation.
The State Government announced on Monday it would sell the corporation to Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
Chief executive Rob Goudswaard and agribusiness general manager Andrew Smith visited the corporation’s Horsham branch on Thursday to speak to staff and clients.
Mr Goudswaard said it would be business as usual for both staff and clients.
“It’s going to be better for farmers,” he said.
“Rural Finance was governed by the Finance Act, so we couldn’t take deposits – now we can.
“It’s the same manager, same staff, same services, just a different shareholder.
“But now we can do more for the clients.”
Mr Smith said staff were calling clients to let them know what was happening.
“We have lots of third and fourth generation farmers who deal with us, because it gives them a sense of security,” he said.
“We are now calling all our clients to let them know what’s going on.”
Mr Goudswaard said clients appreciated staff calling them directly.
“They could read about it or someone else could tell them, but it’s better that we did,” he said.
“That’s the feedback we received as well – that clients like the human relationship.
“Some are sad it has been sold but lots of people said if it had to be to anyone, they were glad it was Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and not one of the big four banks.”
Mr Goudswaard said all the benefits provided by the corporation would continue.
“Farm Finance will continue, Young Farmers Finance will continue,” he said.
“It’s good news.”
He said staff were cautious about the sale.
“No-one likes change,” he said.
“Some were excited because it would give them an opportunity to work in other states.
“Others needed to be convinced.”
Mr Smith said part of the sale agreement was making sure staff continued to have permanent roles.
He said the sale would give clients more options.
“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has 279 branches across Australia, we have 11,” he said.
“It means farmers can go to Rupanyup instead of coming into Horsham.”