Rural lender merges into regional bank

by AB06 May 2014
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank are buying up Rural Finance’s business, assets and loan book for $1.78 billion.
 
The deal to buy Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria is set to be completed early to mid-July, with the rural lender’s distinct brand and presence in 11 locations across Victoria maintained.
 
The purchase was formalised with the Victorian State Government yesterday, and will be for all the assets and business of Rural Finance, including its loan book, which will have an estimated value of $1.695 billion at the proposed completion date.
 
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director Mike Hirst said the purchase reflected the bank’s commitment to grow its agri-capability and support for rural and regional customers.
 
“This transaction brings together two iconic Victorian businesses, both with long and proud histories of serving farmers and communities. In particular we’re pleased that the skilled and experienced staff at Rural Finance will join our organisation, and continue to assist their clients.
 
“Rural Finance will work together with our existing specialist agricultural business, Rural Bank, to serve more than 5,200 farmers across Victoria – with a loan book in excess of $2.4 billion.”
 
As part of the sale the bank will maintain Rural Finance’s range of community-based programs, including its Young Farmer Finance Scheme, and will administer exceptional circumstances assistance programs on behalf of the government.
 
Rural Finance CEO Rob Goudswaard said the new ownership is an exciting opportunity for staff and clients of Rural Finance.
 
The acquisition is subject to APRA approval.
 
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