Foreign Banks Continue Investment in Ag Sector

Published on: 09:55AM Jun 17, 2010

TierOne Bank of Lincoln, Nebraska was closed by the FDIC on June 4, 2010 and then sold to Great Western Bank of Sioux Falls, South Dakato which is a subsidiary of National Australia Bank, a large agricultural lender that has expanded its farm-based lending in the United States and appears ready to continue to expand into this sector.

TierOne Bank had 69 branches and about $1.9 billion in assets.  After the purchase, it appears that Great Western Bank will be about $7.5 billion in assets and most of this is based in the ag states of South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

They are quoted as saying that they continue to want to acquire other farm-orientated banks in the Midwest.  With Bank of the West being owned by a French bank and the large Dutch bank RaboBank expanding in the US, this trend of banking to the farm sector by foreign owned banks will continue.  If the foreign banks have large capital cushions, then this will probably be a good thing for farmers.  If there capital cushion is low, then at the first sign on trouble, these banks may be the first ones to be sold or liquidated.