March 27, 2017
A Georgia agricultural lending cooperative has announced that dividends totaling $11,184,179 have been declared by its Board of Directors, with checks scheduled to mail to its membership the first week of April.
AgGeorgia Farm Credit is making this distribution as part of its Patronage Refund Program. This marks the 29th consecutive year the cooperative has returned profits to its members, with over $330 million in cash being paid out since 1988. The refund consists of more than $3.35 million in cash and over $7.82 million in allocated surplus, with the surplus portion to be used to maintain the capital position of the cooperative and returned to members at a later date.
“Profit sharing is really at the heart of the cooperative model,” said AgGeorgia CEO Jack Drew. “Our patronage refund program does just that, lowering our members’ cost of borrowing while complementing our already competitive upfront interest rates.”
Often, new members to the cooperative are surprised to receive a check back from their lender, according to AgGeorgia CFO Carrie McCall.
"Even if they are familiar with cooperatives, most new members are surprised that the refunds are significant relative to their interest paid,” said McCall. “The patronage refund reduces our members’ cost of borrowing considerably, this year lowering the average member’s stated rate by 1.36%. For every dollar of interest expense accrued by our borrowers in our general portfolio in 2016, 25 cents is being paid back to them.”
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