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This paper docwnents the radical restructuring of the supply of agricultural credit in Portugal in the 1980s. In the previoos decade, commercial banks and Ministry of Agriculture programmes dominated the supply of agrirultural finance. By 1986, however, the national network of agricultural credit coq>eratives (Caixas de Crf.dito Agricola MUtuo) had emerged as the major supplier of agricultural credit in the country. Controversies such as ponfolio concentration, a high incidence of rescheduled loans, high cquily multipliers, low capital-.. set ratio., and. unstable and ambiguous rates of return on equity (net worth) have led to the crea·tfon of a second-tiu institution to intermediate excess liquidity in the network and act as a lender of last resorL Statutory limitations· en CCAM lending activity and controversies surroonding a new national bank-type role for the second-tier institution currently create uncertainty about the future of the CCAM system in Portugal.


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