Ag Credit Demand Stays Strong

May 27, 2009 07:00 PM

Sara Muri, Top Producer Business & Crops Online Editor
Farmers and ranchers are still expanding and investing in their businesses, according to the results of ABA Center for Agricultural & Rural Banking's annual "Farm Bank Performance” report. The report says that the U.S. banking industry held $123.5 billion in farm loans in 2008, up from the $114.2 billion in 2007.
"Banks continue to meet the credit needs of agriculture, especially for small farms,” says John Blanchfield, director of the association's Center for Agricultural & Rural Banking. "Thanks to the banking industry, rural Americans, especially the owners of small farms, are finding plenty of opportunities to finance their farms, ranches, businesses, and homes.”
Farm bank deposits increased 6.9% from $197 billion in 2007 to $211 billion in 2008. The number of full-time employees at farm banks increased 2.3% from 71,303 in 2007 to 72,942 in 2008.
Other key study findings:
  • Total loans at farm banks grew 8.2% to $170 billion from $151.7 billion in 2007.
  • Farm banks hold $9.8 billion in loans $100,000 or smaller to small farmers and an additional $11.6 billion in loans between $100,000 and $250,000.
  • The 2,247 farm banks held around $258.6 billion in assets in 2008, up 7.9% from 2007.
  • Farm bank income, before taxes, totaled $3 billion, which was 10.3% lower than in 2007. In 2007, it was $3.4 billion.
The Farm Bank Performance report analyzed 2,247 U.S. farm banks. A farm bank is defined by ABA as a FDIC-insured bank with assets less than $1 billion whose ratio of domestic farm loans to total domestic loans is greater than or equal to 14.20% in 2008.
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