Regional Investment Corporation Marks 5 Years, Delivers $3.16B in Low-Cost Loans to Strengthen Farm Businesses

July marks the 5-year milestone since the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) started delivering concessional loans on behalf of the Australian Government to build a stronger, more sustainable agricultural industry.

Since start-up, RIC has settled 2,921 loans worth $3.16 billion to support farm businesses across Australian industries including beef, dairy, sheep, cropping and horticulture.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt congratulated RIC on its fifth anniversary and for its achievements so far.

"RIC concessional loans to farmers and farm-related small businesses help them to manage disruption such as drought and natural disasters and support them to recover, prepare and be in a better position to remain prosperous and grow," Minister Watt said.

"I congratulate the RIC and its team for reaching this five-year milestone and for their ongoing work to encourage the long-term resilience and profitability of Australian farm businesses."

RIC CEO, John Howard said, "RIC was born in a period of one of the most severe droughts in recent Australian history with the introduction of the Drought Loan and AgBiz Drought Loan. Today our loans continue to directly support farm businesses through disruptions like natural disasters, bushfires and floods with access to the Farm Investment Loan.

"Farmers have welcomed RIC loans assistance to improve cash flow, providing much-needed breathing space to farmers in financial need to restock, rebuild, to improve land management practices, and to mitigate potential future risks," he said.

During the past 5 years, new legislation has delivered additional loan products, including the AgriStarter Loan which launched in January 2021 to encourage first generation and next generation farmers to accelerate succession planning and their business journey.

"Our founding vision remains the same - to build a stronger agriculture industry and grow thriving regional communities. Now as our organisation matures and evolves, we are proud to be able to continue to make a valuable contribution to helping our industry become more sustainable for now and future generations," Mr Howard said.

Fast facts*:

  • RIC loans can be used to refinance existing debt, invest in capital expenses and support improvements to farm business practices.
  • $67 million estimated savings for farm businesses in interest repayments through RIC loans in FY21-22 alone.
  • 82% of RIC loans support sheep, beef cattle and grains agricultural industries.
  • 91% of RIC-assisted farmers agree their concessional loan made drought recovery easier and 89% reported greater confidence in the future of their farm business.
  • RIC loans are concessional and have favourable features such as, no establishment fees or early repayment fees.
  • RIC interest rates are determined by the average of the Australian Government 10-year bond rate, not the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate which has increased 12 times since May 2023 up by 4.0%. RIC rates have not increased by the same proportion, only increasing 2.21% from February 2022 to August 2023. In addition, RIC rates are only reviewed twice a year, providing greater repayment certainty for customers.
  • The concessional rate for RIC farm business loans is 4.52% pa. RIC loans offer a 10-year term of 5 years interest only and 5 years principal and interest repayments.

*Source: RIC loan data, ABARES, JWS Research 2022.

View the key milestones along RIC's 5-year timeline and hear from customers who share their stories of how RIC loans have helped their farm business.

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