Farmers overall remain satisfied with their banks, but pressure is building and sharemilkers are feeling it the most, according to a Federated Farmers survey.
The survey, which is taken quarterly to gauge the relationship farmers hold with their banks, indicated that perceptions about "undue pressure" have gradually built.
Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said the survey's result came as no surprise considering the current environment, which has seen farmgate milk prices drop to their lowest point in 10 years.
"Despite sharemilkers being particularly exposed at present, bank satisfaction remains strong overall," he said in a statement.
The survey showed 81 per cent of all farmers and 79 per cent of dairy farmers were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their banks.
However, 9.7 per cent of all farmers felt they were coming under undue pressure regarding their mortgage, up from February's 8.5 per cent. For dairy farmers this was up to 12.9 per cent from 10.9 per cent last quarter.
Hoggard said it was important to recognise that to date other farming types, like sheep and beef and arable, were not reporting nearly the extent of bank pressure and numbers have hardly shifted since the survey started.
New Zealand Bankers' Association chief executive Karen Scott-Howman said banks were still working closely with farmers to help them plan and manage through the tough times, and the survey results are positive given the current environment for farmers.
"Banks remain committed to supporting their farming customers, and they will continue working closely with dairy farmers and sharemilkers to help support the viability of their businesses," Scott-Howman said in a statement.
"The survey shows the vast majority of farmers remain happy with the quality of communication with their banks. Regular two-way communication is vital in times of financial pressure. We encourage farmers to continue talking with their banks early and often about budget planning, managing cashflow and the assistance that may be available to them," she added.
On the plus side, Hoggard said interest rates were elatively low and they were still edging down.
Compared to February both mortgage and overdraft rates were down by about 20 basis points to 5.41 per cent and 7.59 per cent respectively on average.
"Today's low interest rate environment is a godsend and it will be saving many farmers significant debt servicing costs," he said. "Those who remember the mid-to-late 1980s with borrowing rates well over 20 per cent will be well aware of this," Hoggard said.