Farm Credit East reported strong 2013 financial results, showing continued growth in loans coupled with strong earnings, which allowed for record combined patronage dividends of $44.5 million to customer owners.
"Farm Credit East has a deep commitment to the future of Northeast agriculture," said Bill Lipinski, CEO of Farm Credit East. "With strong earnings and capital levels, we are well-positioned to meet the credit and financial services needs of our current members as well as the next generation."
Net income for Farm Credit East increased 6.5 percent to $116.6 million. The cooperative's loan portfolio grew to $5 billion and total capital increased to $930 million. The cooperative's financial services program, which focuses on customer profitability and risk management, grew by 8 percent to more than $20 million.
Farm Credit East merged with Farm Credit of Maine on January 1, 2014. Farm Credit of Maine financial results were also strong, with net income of $6.78 million in 2013. Combined net income for the merged association would have exceeded $123 million.
Farm Credit East continues to be the leading lender to farmers in the Northeast, providing over 65 percent of the credit to farm businesses and serving nearly 14,000 customers. Overall interest rates have been at historically low levels and Farm Credit East has maintained very competitive rates for its customers and paid patronage dividends from earnings.
Andy Gilbert, Farm Credit East board chairman, commented, "We are very pleased with our results this year. While some parts of Northeast agriculture faced difficult challenges in 2013 resulting from poor weather conditions or the weak housing market, we continue to work closely with our farmer members and were able to provide patronage of $44.5 million to farmers, commercial fishermen and forest products operations throughout our seven-state territory."
The $44.5 million patronage this year is the combined distribution of Farm Credit East and Farm Credit of Maine, which returned $42 million and $2.5 million to customers, respectively. Over the past 18 years, Farm Credit East and its predecessor associations have returned $468 million to its customers in patronage.
"We have many strong farm businesses in the Northeast that produce high-quality farm products," said Lipinski. "Our merger with Farm Credit of Maine further strengthens our cooperative to help ensure that we are able to serve agriculture for generations to come."
Both associations' 2013 Annual Reports were mailed to customers. They are also available on Farm Credit East's website. Visit FarmCreditEast.com
to learn more.