Initially, we explore the attitudes and perceptions of farmers and low farm profitability as potential constraints to rural financial intermediation and investment in agriculture. As part of this discussion we consider what is factual about the "access to credit problem." Second, we summarize recent changes in agricultural finance and credit conditions in the CEE, NIS, and Baltic countries. The focus here is on observed financing patterns, sources of credit, and the set of constraints which are thought to affect the level of rural financial intermediation. Third, we consider how banks are adapting to the new farming structures. Fourth, we review the primary modes of government intervention in financial markets and the role of government in dealing with the bad loans problem by providing "soft credits" via the banks. We conclude by suggesting the means by which governments can foster development of effective rural financial markets.