- Wells Fargo launched a national food, beverage and agribusiness group, the bank announced Thursday. The group is part of its specialized industries division within commercial banking.
- The country's fourth-largest bank said the division will offer specialized financing for all areas of agribusiness and food and beverage, including input supply, production, processing, wholesale distribution and retailing.
- While other large U.S. banks are trimming their loans in the ag sector, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo remains a top commercial agricultural lender in the U.S., with $7 billion in loans in 2017, according to the American Bankers Association.
Significant drops in farm income and the escalating U.S.-China trade war are prompting a number of banks to scale back on their agricultural lending portfolios.
The farm-loan portfolios of the nation's top 30 banks declined 17.5%, or $3.9 billion, to $18.3 billion from December 2015 to March 2019, a Reuters report found.
JPMorgan Chase trimmed $245 million, or 22%, of its farm-loan holdings between the end of 2015 and March 31 of this year, Reuters found.
Capital One Financial and U.S. Bancorp also cut their farm-loan portfolios — the former by 33% between the end of 2015 and March 2019, and the latter by 25% during the same period.
BB&T's agricultural loan holdings fell 29% since peaking in the summer of 2016 at $1.2 billion, and PNC Financial Services Group cut its farm loans by 12% since 2015, Reuters reported.
"Wells Fargo has served the food and agriculture industry through numerous economic cycles, and we remain committed to helping farmers and food and beverage producers across the U.S.," Phil Smith, head of Wells Fargo Specialized Industries, said in a release.