Futuregrowth withholds funding to Land Bank

Futuregrowth, an asset management company that manages assets of over R170bn, has suspended lending activities to the Land Bank, citing concerns over governance.

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Mr Bennie van Rooy, Land Bank CFO, told Farmer’s Weekly that Future Growth had indicated that a formal letter, outlining the institution’s concerns, would be submitted to the bank.

According to Van Rooy, Future Growth had suspended its lending activities to state owned enterprises after publicly expressing its lack of confidence in the bank’s policies that directed the lending process to politically exposed persons.

“We have an approved policy in this regard, which guides credit granting decisions to politically exposed persons, and [identifies] when lending may take place,” Van Rooy said.

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Lending activities could continue if Future Growth was satisfied with the independence of the board and credit committee of the bank, Van Rooy added.

According to Van Rooy, the Land Bank assisted emerging farmers with R2,5bn/year. He added that they were unable to speculate on the reasons why Future Growth had halted lending activities, as the bank had received clean audit report from the Auditor-General for three consecutive years.

Michele Usher, head of marketing at Future Growth, said that the company was unable to respond to queries.

“The appropriate course of action would have been to raise those concerns with the Land Bank and obtain formal clarification and response prior to the decision,” the Land Bank said in a press release.

Van Rooy said that the Land Bank had not met with Future Growth since the decision, and would welcome any engagement.