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Rabobank New Zealand Group records strong lending growth

Rabobank New Zealand Group (RNZG) has further strengthened its position in the New Zealand rural banking market, recording strong rural lending growth and reporting net profit after tax (NPAT) of $209.06 million in 2021. RNZG recorded net lending growth of $636 million in 2021, with the bank's rural lending portfolio (lending inside the farm gate) growing by 2.7 per cent in a market which saw overall agri debt contract by 1.2 per cent.

Rabobank New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Todd Charteris said the healthy portfolio growth was in line with the bank’s market growth strategy and demonstrated Rabobank’s ongoing commitment to New Zealand’s food and agribusiness sector.

“Despite numerous challenges — including Covid-19 and new government regulations impacting the sector — New Zealand’s agricultural sector again performed strongly in 2021 off the back of robust returns for the majority of the country’s key agricultural commodities,” he said.

“We remain positive about the long-term prospects for the sector and our intention is to further expand our agri lending portfolio through new lending to farmers and other businesses across New Zealand’s food and agribusiness supply chain.”

 Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris 

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris

Mr Charteris said Rabobank New Zealand Group’s 2021 NPAT of $209.06 million was well up on the $121.19 million recorded in 2020, with this lift largely attributable to the release of impairments and lower cost of funds aligned with market interest rates. As in previous years, this profit will be reinvested in Rabobank locally to continue supporting New Zealand farmers and growers.

“In 2020 we booked a number of Covid-related impairments which contributed to our 2020 NPAT dipping below the previous year’s result. The strong commodity pricing over the course of 2021 saw a number of our clients paying down debt which improved the risk profile of our portfolio and enabled us to unwind loan impairments from the previous year,” he said. Mr Charteris said the bank’s expenses grew to $172.30 million, up by $11.4 million on the previous year. “Overall expenses rose by 7.0 per cent largely as a result of increased employee numbers – particularly in our compliance and regulatory teams,” he said.

In addition to the bank’s strong portfolio growth and NPAT, Mr Charteris said further key achievements in 2021 included the launch of the new Rabo Community Fund, the opening of the bank’s new corporate head office in Hamilton and its ongoing work alongside food waste charity partner KiwiHarvest to combat food insecurity in New Zealand.

“The new Rabo Community Fund was launched in October last year and is backed by an annual contribution from Rabobank New Zealand & Australia. It kicked off with an initial AUD2 million (NZD2.12 million), which is being invested in a range of initiatives to benefit rural and regional communities around New Zealand and Australia identified by the bank’s local Client Councils,” he said.

“The new fund is already helping to build capability and resilience in rural communities via financial support for a range of activities aligned to our Client Council themes. Some of the initiatives currently being funded include Financial Skills Workshops for farmers, the Growing Future Farmers programme which provides specialised industry training and development opportunities for school leavers, and the Surfing For Farmers programme which helps improve farmers mental health.

“We also relocated our head office from Wellington to Hamilton in 2021 with staff moving into the new office in early December last year. The move places our head office at the heart of the vibrant Waikato food and agri region and we are now even better placed to connect with our clients and other food and agri sector participants.”

Mr Charteris said the bank had further developed its partnership with KiwiHarvest over the past year and further initiatives were planned for 2022.

“Since teaming up with KiwiHarvest in 2020, we’ve collaborated with them on a number of practical initiatives to rescue food and help vulnerable communities,” he said.

“This includes the release of the inaugural Rabobank/ KiwiHarvest food waste research report last year which looked at Kiwis’ food waste habits and the key drivers behind these. The research identified a number of opportunities to turn New Zealanders’ concerns about food waste into meaningful action and we’re commissioning this research again in 2022 to ensure that up-to-date information is available on New Zealanders’ food waste and food purchasing trends.”

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years’ experience providing customized banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 36 countries, servicing the needs of about 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of close to 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 30 offices throughout New Zealand.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525