AgCredit — one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness — recently declared a patronage refund of 24.57 percent for 2016 that results in $18.4 million being refunded to its member borrowers.
The patronage payment will provide a refund to the lending cooperative’s shareholders of 24 cents for every dollar they accrued in interest on their loans for the past year. The patronage refund is the equivalent of 1.21% net savings on interest.
Over the past five years, AgCredit has averaged a 29.43% patronage refund rate and has paid patronage refunds for 30 consecutive years. During this time, it has distributed more than $246 million to its borrowers.
Earnings for 2016 were $49.6 million. AgCredit’s year-end numbers reflected a 4.66 percent growth rate and $80 million increase as loan volume increased from $1.716 billion to $1.796 billion.
“Though our business continues to perform very well, due to the cyclical nature of agriculture, we are seeing an increasing number of farm operations being negatively impacted by lower net margins. Many operations will need time to adjust to the lower margins. Even with the challenges facing agriculture, our mission to serve agriculture and our rural communities has never been stronger,” said Brian Ricker, AgCredit CEO and president, who shared and reviewed information about the co-op’s financial status with approximately 500 members and guests who attended its annual meeting held April 12 at Meadowbrook Park in Bascom.
Even with historically high asset quality levels the cooperative lending association continues to mitigate credit risk as a preferred lender working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency’s guarantee program. Nearly 30% of AgCredit’s loan volume is secured through this program which allows it to capitalize growth by using it as an effective capital leveraging tool to enhance credit quality and credit risk.