Mark Hayes, business development manager; Noelle Fitzpatrick, loans manager and Therese Conway, CEO of Cavan Credit Union.PHOTO: SEAN MCMAHON

Cavan Credit Union cultivates relationship with farmers

Cavan Credit Union is joining the most successful nationwide Cultivate Farm Loan initiative.

Therese Conway, CEO of Cavan Credit Union, is issuing an open invitation to the launch of the new farm loan offering on Monday morning, October 11, at Clarkes of Cavan, Moynehall Retail Park, Cavan.

“We would love to see as many people as possible, at the launch. It is open to the general public and, in addition to finding out more about Cultivate farm loans, there will be plenty to see by way of machinery on display from the Clarke Machinery Group. M-Tec Engineering from Swanlinbar will also be displaying some of their trailers and products,” she enthused.

“I think we are all delighted to be able to start getting out and about again and we hope it will be a fun and interesting event,” added Ms Conway.

The launch will run from 11am to 1pm, with all welcome. Northern Sound will be broadcasting live on the day and there will be refreshments, goodies to take away and the chance to win a €250 Clarke’s voucher.

Mark Hayes, business development manager with Cavan Credit Union, said the financial institution decided to add Cultivate Farm Loans to its range of loan products after it identified farming as a particularly important sector to the local economy.

“In addition to generating income inside the farm gate, farming is also very much a central part of the rural community, with each euro earned by farmers having a multiplier effect in the rural economy,” he revealed.

In the run up to the launch, Cavan Credit Union engaged in a series of stakeholder meetings with representatives from IFA, Macra na Feirme, livestock marts, dairy co-ops, Teagasc, Farm Relief Services, agribusinesses, agricultural contractors, IFAC, accountancy practices, LEADER and LEO.

“The feedback from these stakeholders meeting has been invaluable for us in identifying the real needs of the farming community in Cavan. We have learned that they value face-to-face personal banking, where a farmer can come in to the credit union, discuss their loan requirements with a lender who has farming knowledge and where the process is straightforward and fully completed in branch,” said Mr Hayes.

Noelle Fitzpatrick has been appointed the designated Cultivate Loans Manager in the Cavan Credit Union. She has been with the credit union for eight years. “She is very knowledgeable in loan underwriting and also has a keen interest in farming. She is currently completing her Green Cert in Ballyhaise College and knows her way around a farm as well as a loan application. She is the perfect fit for this role and is excited, as we all are, to bring Cultivate Farm Loans to the farming community in Cavan,” said Mr Hayes.

Reared on a farm in Cornafean, Ms Fitzpatrick revealed she always had a love of animals and farming. “I am really looking forward to the role of dealing with Cultivate Loans, as it is great to be able to bring together my interest in farming with my working life as a Credit Union Loans Manager.”

She added: “I know farmers are busy people with a lot to do and they value a fast and efficient loan application process that is completed in branch, which is what we provide here at Cavan Credit Union.”

Cultivate Farm Loans are specifically for farmers and offer loans of up to €50,000 for terms of up to seven years, at an interest rate of 6.55% (6.75% APR) for a variety of purposes including livestock purchase, farm development and buying farm machinery, with repayment schedules designed to suit farmers’ cash flow.

The Cultivate Farm Loan is designed with a competitive interest rate. “This is obviously important due to the nature of cash flow on a farm and flexible repayment options are also a key factor and we will facilitate that,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.

The loans are also open to young trained entrants to farming. “Start-up finance for people entering farming will also feature in the Cultivate Farm Loan offering and we know from our feedback, that there is an appetite for this, as there are people keen to get into farming, but there are costs to be met to do so,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.

“We look forward to working with a broad spectrum of farmers in the provision of Cultivate Farm Loans and are confident that the Cultivate loan offering will meet the needs of the local farming community.”

Cultivate is now offered in 100 credit union offices around Ireland. The average Cultivate loan currently is €26,791, given to a farmer over six years.

“In the first six months of 2021 Cultivate experienced nearly the same amount of loan applications as the entire 12 months in 2020 (94% of 2020 volume),” revealed Ms Fitzpatrick.

“This shows the desire farmers have to reinvest in their farms and highlights an appetite to maintain sustainable farming enterprises,” she added.

It also positively reflects the resilience by the farming sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most popular loans so far in 2021 have been for stocking and working capital, followed closely by farm buildings and tractor purchases.

The team at Cavan Credit Union hope lots for people from the local farming community will be able to join them at Monday’s launch event.

Contact Ms Fitzpatrick for Cultivate Farm Loans at Cavan Credit Union on 049-4331715, by email to or in the branch at 83 Main Street, Cavan.