South Carolina Farm Loan Leader ArborOne Returns $2.7 Million in Profits to 1463 Member-Stockholders

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South Carolina farm and home loan cooperative continues tradition of returning profits to its owner-members. Since 1997, ArborOne has paid out over $40 million dollars.

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The more business a member does with ArborOne, the larger is his or her share in the profits

In the last few weeks, 1463 members of ArborOne Financial, the South Carolina home mortgage and agricultural credit cooperative headquartered in Florence, learned that they will share in a $2.7 million dollar refund.

Part of the Farm Credit System established in 1916, ArborOne is owned by its member-borrowers. When someone borrows from the cooperative, that person becomes a member and is therefore entitled to share in the profits of the association. After each fiscal year, the Board of Directors votes to retain the net income of the association to strengthen its capital or to distribute some or all of the net income to members through a patronage refund. Individual patronage refunds are based on the proportion of interest earned on an individual loan.

This year, after a close review of the association's financial position, ArborOne's Board voted to retire an allocated surplus fund, an amount that is withheld every year from patronage refunds to keep the cooperation operating on a sound financial basis. The payout of the surplus fund to members is an indicator of ArborOne's strength as a South Carolina farm loan leader and the confidence the Board has in the organization. Checks are being mailed to 1463 members in a 12-county area around Florence. This particular refund, totaling $2.7 million, is in addition to the yearly patronage refunds all members receive, which totaled over $2.3 million in 2007.

Cumulative payouts from the South Carolina home loan leader to its members have totaled over $40 million in the last decade. The patronage refund is not taxable to recipients, who have already paid taxes on the allocated surplus with patronage refunds from prior years.

Distributing loan profits to members effectively reduces their cost of borrowing money for those who take advantage of ArborOne's South Carolina home loan and farm loan services. Jack Shuler, CEO, comments that, "The next time you sit down and write a check to a lending institution, ask yourself, 'How much of this interest payment will the bank return to me?' If your answer is 'none,' then maybe you should consider doing more of your business where you are a stockholder. At ArborOne, you own the bank, and you share the bank's profits."

While patronage distribution is not guaranteed, ArborOne's patronage history reflects a solid decade of returning profits to their members at a cash percentage of 40%. To members who borrowed in 2006, for example, ArborOne returned 25 cents on every dollar of interest. A full history of patronage refund is available on ArborOne's web site, Members of ArborOne will have their next patronage refund opportunity in April 2008.

"The more business a member does with ArborOne, the larger is his or her share in the profits," explains Shuler. "We're pleased to be able to offer an additional refund to our members this year." ArborOne offers home loans, farm loans, insurance and financial planning services.

About ArborOne:
ArborOne Financial provides a full line of lending solutions in the 12 county area of northeast South Carolina. For the last 85 years, ArborOne has provided agricultural and home loans for people all across the Pee Dee region. A long-standing Farm Credit lender, ArborOne is community owned, and features personal service, patronage refunds and low interest rates.


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