While Russia's war continues to negatively impact the Ukrainian economy, agricultural lending remains a bright spot for credit unions that have partnered with World Council of Credit Union's Credit for Agriculture Producers' (CAP) Project.
Compared to 2021, overall lending dropped 42% among CAP partner credit unions through the first three quarters of 2022. But during that same period, agricultural lending has remained relatively stable, dropping just 6%.
The demand for loans is decreasing overall, as many Ukrainians have migrated for safety reasons or are reluctant to take on the risk of borrowing money to invest in their businesses during the war. But Ukrainian agricultural producers continue to apply for loans at their credit unions due to the affordable financing made possible through the USAID/Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions $1 million Liquidity Fund.
This affordable, external funding has been key for these community-based institutions to continue serving their members and running their businesses. Since February 2022, 492 loans totaling just over $1 million have been disbursed under the Liquidity Fund.
The loans granted in these portfolios are also sound, with the credit unions applying more Know Your Customer (KYC) principles to help improve lending. The Liquidity Fund will help Ukraine's credit unions and their member farmers get through the winter, when demand is expected to rise again ahead of the spring agricultural season.