The new finance initiative could help members to better manage capital and cash flow demands.
Fram Farmers has responded to requests from members by developing a service which assists with access to finance, helping farming businesses overcome the inevitable capital demands and spikes in cash-flow that occur throughout the year. Following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the initiative has been launched to members.
Commenting on the new service, Nick Hindle, Financial Controller at Fram Farmers said, “Securing access to finance is a major issue for many businesses and is likely to become even more critical for those in the farming sector, as Brexit impact begins to take effect and financial institutions may tighten their lending criteria, as well as the potential difficulties faced by farming businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Fram Farmers is a not-for-profit member-owned cooperative, so members have the reassurance that these new facilities offered by the cooperative are created specifically for them and can be trusted,” he continues.
This new service has been developed in conjunction with Flexi-Funding, a Leeds-based and FCA authorised credit broker, and Hitachi Capital Business Finance, one of the UK’s leading asset finance lenders.
Nick Hindle adds, “As a large, well-known and trusted business-to-business lender with excellent understanding of the farming and food sector, Hitachi Capital Business Finance is an obvious choice to enhance the service we offer our members.
“This relationship allows Fram Farmers Finance to help members maximise the benefits and financial savings they derive from belonging to the co-operative. We are delighted to be able to offer this service and are confident this will be of great benefit to our members.”
Andrew Read, Fram Farmers chairman and farmer-member, is the first to use the new scheme, purchasing a newly updated version of Weaving Machinery’s popular Sabre steel tine drill.
Fram Farmers has an established supplier partnership with Weaving Machinery and, having visited the Weaving Factory to see the prototype, Andrew was offered a great deal, thanks to the Fram Farmers member discount agreement. Working with Nick Hindle, Fram Farmers Financial Controller and Gordon Cummings, Fram Farmers Machinery Partnership Manager, Andrew placed his order for a new drill, having secured finance through the new finance initiative.
Andrew Read, commenting on the arrangement, said “I cannot stress enough how simple and efficient the process was, from start to finish.
“Gordon finalised the specifications of the order with Weavings and Nick made the introductions with Hitachi Capital Business Finance, enabling me to explore the finance options and agree payment terms. The drill arrived shortly afterwards and was installed by Weaving, then it was seamlessly picked up in one invoice.”
The new initiative has been created by the cooperative for members who do occasionally experience a tightening of their cash-flow position and may either be forced, or feel compelled, to deal directly with suppliers because of that. The cooperative warns that arrangements now offered by some suppliers are not transparent, lock farmers into revolving credit and can end up costing much more, as well as being restrictive and potentially difficult to exit.
“Fram Farmers Finance is one way that the cooperative can help members maintain a prompt payment record, continue to source everything they need through their cooperative and benefit from significant savings on their input purchases,” adds Nick Hindle.
“This is really important to us – we have rigorously benchmarked Fram Farmers prices against those available in the wider market and demonstrated a 9.76% saving across 15 key inputs.”