Farm Credit Remains Strong, Federal Regulator Tells Congress

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Cooperative Lender Delivers on its Mission to Support Rural Communities and Agriculture

I believe that the Farm Credit System is fundamentally safe and sound and in a position to weather the challenges that it is likely to face in the times ahead.

The Farm Credit System is pleased that the House Agriculture Committee took testimony today from the System’s regulator stating that Farm Credit remains financially strong and continues to successfully carry out its mission to support rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services.

“Farm Credit thanks House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson for today’s hearing”, said Curtis Hancock, a farmer from Fulton, Kentucky, who serves as chairman of The Farm Credit Council Board of Directors.

“We are pleased with the positive statements regarding the continuing financial strength of the Farm Credit System,” Hancock said. “The hearing today also focused on the System‘s mission which is set out specifically in the Farm Credit Act. The law clearly directs Farm Credit to serve rural communities and agriculture, and Farm Credit is strongly committed to fulfilling this mission.”

Chairman Conaway opened the hearing by stating that, “I believe that the Farm Credit System is fundamentally safe and sound and in a position to weather the challenges that it is likely to face in the times ahead.”

Kenneth A. Spearman, Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), stated, “I am pleased to report that the System’s banks and associations are fundamentally safe and sound. They are well-capitalized, with solid earnings and strong credit quality.”

Spearman said that FCA, as the independent federal agency responsible for examining and regulating the entities of the Farm Credit System, can report that the Farm Credit System’s sound position is supported by moderate loan growth, adequate capital, and reliable access to debt capital markets. The System continues to show strong earnings performance and credit quality, he added.

Ken Auer, President and CEO of the Farm Credit Council, said efforts by the commercial banking lobby to turn the hearing into a platform for their tired, inaccurate and disproven claims regarding the Farm Credit System were evident.

“The commercial banking lobby wanted this hearing to be about them – about maximizing their own profits while ignoring what farmers and rural communities need, which is to have access to reliable and consistent sources of credit,” Auer said.

“Unfortunately, commercial banking industry lobbyists have consistently misrepresented the Farm Credit System’s mission in an effort to reduce competition,” Auer added. “Farm Credit remains committed to demonstrating how each loan we make supports our mission. We agree with Chairman Conaway and members of the Committee, and Farm Credit as always stands ready to work collaboratively to help rural communities and agriculture grow and thrive.”

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The Farm Credit Council is the national trade association representing the institutions of the Farm Credit System. The Farm Credit System is a federally chartered network of borrower-owned lending institutions comprised of cooperatives and related service organizations. Its mission is to provide sound and dependable credit to American farmers, ranchers, producers or harvesters of aquatic products, their cooperatives, and certain farm-related businesses. For more information on The Farm Credit Council, visit http://www.fccouncil.com.

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Jennifer Armbruster
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Farm Credit
since: 05/2009
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