To mark its commitment to rural businesses, Clydesdale Bank’s Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) in Portsmouth has appointed an Agri-Partner to serve Hampshire and the surrounding counties.
Tom Thatcher, a former farmer who joined Clydesdale Bank in 1995, will work closely with Maria Price, Agri-Partner at Clydesdale’s FSC in Southampton.
Agriculture is the UK’s second biggest industry, beaten only by financial services. After 10 lean years many farmers are reaping the rewards after diversifying into new areas, while others are benefiting from the knock-on effects of changing diets in the Far East.
Tom explained: “For the first time in ages, the agricultural market is subject to the laws of supply and demand and that is extremely good news for British farmers. People in the Far East are changing to a more Western diet and that has created an almost limitless demand for milk and cereals. Prices for both commodities have shot up.
“The downside is that while the price of livestock feed has risen accordingly, the commercial price of beef and pork hasn’t caught up. Elsewhere farmers are diversifying, perhaps converting outbuildings for commercial use and becoming commercial property landlords.
“There are new opportunities and challenges in agriculture and that is why the support of a bank with specialist knowledge is so beneficial. Clydesdale Bank along with our sister institution Yorkshire Bank has an experienced team of nearly 50 specialists working in the agricultural sector which is second to none.”
Tom previously worked in Clydesdale Bank’s Gloucester FSC and his portfolio includes many of the original members he took on when he first joined the bank more than a decade ago. These lasting relationships are testament to the bank’s long-term view of supporting farmers which has endured through some difficult times.
Tom said: “Trust is key. Having been a farmer myself for 20 years I would say it takes 10 years to build up a farmer’s confidence and 10 seconds to break it. Our members know they can count on Clydesdale’s support through thick and thin.
“The bank is here for the long-term: we are consistent with our support for British farmers.”
Murray Jones, Managing Partner at Clydesdale’s FSC in Portsmouth, said: “It is important that people know we have this specific capability in our armoury as there are plenty of opportunities to be had in the agri marketplace at present. We have first hand knowledge and expertise to help farmers take advantage of these opportunities and can help them to explore avenues of interest to their business.
For further information on Clydesdale Bank’s services at Portsmouth FSC, Gunwharf Quays, call 02392 856600.