Bank of Ireland says it is seeing increased demand for its lending product aimed at the agriculture industry.

While giving no indication of the actual size of the increase, the lender described it as “significant” and added that Bank of Ireland accounts for 55% of new lending to farmers on an annual basis.

According to Bank of Ireland’s annual accounts for 2022, total lending to the “agriculture, forestry and fishing sector” stood at €1.56bn at the end of the year. While this shows an increase from 2021, it is well below the 2018 level of €1.65bn. That drop in lending to farming is part of multi-year trend that has seen total borrowing by the sector in Ireland drop to levels not seen in 20 years.

Eoin Lowry, head of agri at Bank of Ireland, said that the bank’s Agri Assist Loan Fund provides credit to farmers at a very competitive rate – currently as low as 4.89% – and added that the bank’s unique funding model meant that it was not tied to the vagaries of European Central Bank decisions in changing borrowing costs.