USDA/FSA CHOOSES ECI's WEB EQUITY MANAGER® TO ANALYZE GUARANTEED AND DIRECT LOANS

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Implementation to impact the lenders and 100,000 producers using these FSA loan programs. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently chose ECI's Web Equity Manager® software to replace FSA's legacy Farm and Home Plan (FHP) software. Web Equity Manager® will be used to administer over $16 billion in loan volume spread across some 100,000 government program participants through the FSA Service Centers assisting agricultural producers in over 3,000 counties across the country.

Web Equity Manager® is not simply a replacement for the existing FHP, but a system that USDA and other government agencies can expand upon into the future.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently chose ECI's Web Equity Manager® software to replace FSA's legacy Farm and Home Plan (FHP) software.

Web Equity Manager® will be used to administer over $16 billion in loan volume spread across some 100,000 government program participants through the FSA Service Centers assisting agricultural producers in over 3,000 counties across the country.

This landmark decision is part of a comprehensive e-government initiative to provide a standardized platform for facilitating better communication and information exchange between all government loan program participants and the financial institutions and community partners who assist their customers in receiving government program benefits.

"FSA's ultimate goal with Web Equity Manager® is for multiple government agencies to securely operate within the same system as banks, farm credits, regulators and other key lending industry players to significantly reduce the time and expense associated with gathering, analyzing and exchanging program participant information," explained ECI Chairman/CEO, Gary Kruse.

One of the key goals for Web Equity Manager® in the FSA environment is to empower producers to complete their farm business plans on the Web and submit them electronically to the service center. This will allow service center employees enhanced capabilities for assisting producers in completing their business plans.

“We knew that we had to start running our financing programs like the rest of the financial analysis industry including standardizing our use of things like Farm Financial Standards Ratios, accrual analysis and the like” said Steve Rubin, FSA's head of the Web-based FHP initiative. "Web Equity Manager® is not simply a replacement for the existing FHP, but a system that USDA and other government agencies can expand upon into the future."

According to Rubin, FHP and Guaranteed Loan programs will be the beginning for the Web Equity Manager® standardized analysis and information management platform.

"The Web-based forms and processes in Web Equity Manager® will satisfy our long-term goals for sharing automated tools such as government loan programs with participants. This is a far-reaching initiative that goes way beyond the exchange of information between the producer, lenders and FSA. Long-term it could involve other entities like universities, agricultural consultants, accountants, and industry suppliers that have a direct affect on the successful processing of FSA program participant information.”

FSA first started the process to seek out a solution provider to replace the current PC-based FHP system due in large part to conform to the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) which mandates all government agencies provide a process where business transactions and record keeping can be done electronically by program participants by October 2003.

Web Equity Manager® calculates a complete financial analysis on any loan type, from the simplest loan requests to the most complex agricultural and related small business credits utilizing the Farm Financial Standards Ratios and RMA Industry Comparisons. Credit bureau reports can be pulled from within the Web Equity Manager® system and lenders can include that information in their scoring and rating parameters. Web Equity Manager® also provides the Fair, Isaac LiquidCredit® analytic and decisioning service for small business lending, including the industry-leading Small Business Scoring ModelsSM (SBSSSM) functionality so lenders can quickly and confidently process loans up to $250,000 with little or no financial data.

Web Equity Manager® accommodates the analysis and processing of agricultural, small business and consumer loan requests all in the same system. It is specifically designed to enable lenders to realize more productivity through easier, more reliable financial analysis computing, lower technology and maintenance costs in a Web-based environment that is accessible 24/7 via an Internet connection and Web browser.

About ECI

ECI is a privately-owned company that was founded in 1985 in Glenwood, Iowa as a financial consulting company, assisting both lenders and farmers preparing then FmHA guaranteed loan applications. ECI is the current market leader in the agricultural credit analysis software market with over 4,400 users in over 1,500 lending organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada using ECI software.

About FSA

Stabilizing farm income, helping farmers conserve land and water resources, providing credit to new or disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and helping farm operations recover from the effects of disaster are the missions of the US Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA).

FSA was set up when the Department was reorganized in 1994, incorporating programs from several agencies, including the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (now a separate Risk Management Agency), and the Farmers Home Administration. Though its name has changed over the years, the Agency's relationship with farmers goes back to the 1930s.

At that time, Congress set up a unique system under which Federal farm programs are administered locally. This grassroots approach gives farmers a much-needed say in how Federal actions affect their communities and their individual operations. After more than 60 years, it remains a cornerstone of FSA's efforts to preserve and promote American agriculture.

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