American Banking Association Report: Farm Banks Increase Ag Lending 8% in 2015

ABA Report: Farm Banks Increase Ag Lending 8% in 2015

WASHINGTON — Farm banks increased agricultural lending by 7.9 percent in 2015 and held $100.3 billion in farm loans at the end of the year, according to the American Bankers Association’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report

Asset quality continued to improve at the nation’s 1,976 farm banks as non-performing loans declined to a pre-recession level of 0.47 percent of total loans. ABA defines farm banks as banks whose ratio of domestic farm loans to total domestic loans is greater than or equal to the industry average. 

“With farm income forecasted to decline to its lowest level since 2002, banks are ready to assist their farm and ranch customers. Farm banks saw a solid performance in 2015, remain well-capitalized and are well positioned to continue serving the needs of their communities despite any potential turbulence in the ag sector,” said Brittany Kleinpaste, director, economic policy and research at ABA. “Banks hold nearly half of all farm loans and will remain an important source of ag credit.”  

Kleinpaste noted that the entire banking industry – not just farm banks – provide farmers and ranchers with the credit they need.  At the end of 2015, banks held $170 billion in farm and ranch loans. Small and micro loans made up almost half of bank agricultural lending with nearly $75 billion in small and micro farm and ranch loans on the books at the end of 2015. A small farm loan is a loan with an original value of $500,000 or less and a micro farm loan is a loan with an original value of $100,000 or less. 

Farm banks continued to build high-quality capital over the year. Equity capital at farm banks increased 4.9 percent to $47.7 billion in 2015, while Tier 1 capital increased by $3.0 billion to $44.3 billion. Farm banks have built strong high-quality capital reserves and are well-insulated from risks associated with the agricultural sector.   

In addition, more than 97 percent of farm banks were profitable in 2015, with 63 percent reporting an increase in earnings.

"Farm banks play a vital role in their communities by providing loans, creating jobs and paying taxes to support rural America,” said Kleinpaste.

Farm banks added more than 2,500 jobs, a 2.9 percent increase, and employed more than 90,000 rural Americans. Since 2007, employment at farm banks has risen 20.5 percent.

The Farm Bank Performance Report also provides regional summaries:

  • The Northeast region’s 10 farm banks increased farm loans by 19.7 percent to $651 million. Ag production loans rose 7.3 percent and farmland loans rose 21.4 percent.
     
  • The South region’s 211 farm banks increased farm loans by 10.3 percent to $7.4 billion. Ag production loans rose 14 percent and farmland loans rose 8.8 percent.
     
  • The Cornbelt region’s 934 farm banks increased farm loans by 7.4 percent to $44.3 billion. Ag production loans increased 5.8 percent and farmland loans rose 9 percent.
     
  • The Plains region’s 753 farm banks increased farm loans by 8 percent to more than $38.5 billion. Ag production loans increased 6.1 percent and farmland loans rose 10.5 percent.
     
  • The West region’s 68 farm banks increased farm loans by 7 percent to $9.5 billion. Ag production loans increased 10 percent and farmland loans rose 4.4 percent.

Read the 2015 Farm Bank Performance Report.

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $16 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $12 trillion in deposits and extend more than $8 trillion in loans. Learn more at aba.com.

ABA Media Contact: Sarah Grano
(202) 663-5470
Email: sgrano@aba.com