12 Feb 2013

Select committee inquiry wanted into bank activities

12:55 pm on 12 February 2013

Labour wants Parliament's Primary Industries Select Committee to initiate an inquiry into the activities of some trading banks between 2007 - 2009.

Primary industries spokesperson Damien O'Connor said banks actively encouraged farmers during these three years, to sign what's called a swaps loan; a type of fixed rate loan that allows people to manage their interest rate risk.

In some cases, he said those who did sign found themselves locked into high interest rates and unable to cope financially.

''The Commerce Commission has been asked to investigate and has been making inquiries and it is taking some time and I think it's important to keep this issue alive,'' he said.

The agriculture sector has a large debt load .... and a number of farmers have been forced to

walk from their farms.''

Mr O'Connor said he will seek support from the new Minister for Primary Industries for an inquiry.