About banks & associations
The 4 banks and 68 associations of the Farm Credit System are cooperative institutions designed to meet the credit needs of farmers, ranchers, rural cooperatives, and others who are eligible to borrow from the System. The four banks raise money by selling securities in the national and international money markets. They use this money to lend to the associations, which in turn lend to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and other eligible borrowers.
The Farm Credit System serves all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Created by Congress in 1916 to provide American agriculture with a dependable source of credit, the System is the nation’s oldest government-sponsored enterprise.
The System has the authority, subject to certain conditions, to make the following types of loans:
- Agricultural real estate loans
- Agricultural production and intermediate-term loans (e.g., for farm equipment)
- Loans to producers and harvesters of aquatic products
- Loans to certain farmer-owned agricultural processing facilities and farm-related businesses
- Loans to farmer-owned agricultural cooperatives
- Rural home mortgages
- Loans that finance agricultural exports and imports
- Loans to rural utilities
- Loans to farmers and ranchers for other credit needs
Also, under its similar-entity authority, the System may participate with other lenders to make loans to those who are not eligible to borrow directly from the System but whose activities are functionally similar to those of eligible borrowers.
The System includes four banks:
- CoBank, ACB
- AgriBank, FCB
- AgFirst Farm Credit Bank
- Farm Credit Bank of Texas
Three of the banks are organized as farm credit banks or (FCBs). The other bank, CoBank, is organized as an agricultural credit bank (ACB), giving it the same authorities as the farm credit banks, as well as some additional authorities. As an ACB, CoBank can make loans to agricultural, aquatic, and public utility cooperatives; it can also finance U.S. agricultural exports and provide international banking services for farmer-owned cooperatives.
Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation
The Funding Corporation is owned by the System banks. It markets the securities — chiefly bonds and discount notes — that the banks sell in the nation’s capital markets to raise loan funds. These securities are offered by the Funding Corporation through a nationwide group of securities dealers and dealer banks. For more information, see the entry for the Funding Corporation in the FCS institution directory or visit the Funding Corporation website.
The System also contains the following five service corporation. The Farm Credit Act allows System banks and associations to form service corporations to perform functions and services on their behalf.
- AgVantis Inc. provides technology-related and other support services to associations in the CoBank district. AgVantis, which was chartered by FCA on August 3, 2001, is owned by the bank and 17 of its affiliated associations.
- The Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation provides equipment leasing services to eligible borrowers, including agricultural producers, cooperatives, and rural utilities. The Leasing Corporation is owned by CoBank.
- Farm Credit Financial Partners Inc. provides support services to CoBank; five associations affiliated with CoBank; one association affiliated with AgriBank; the Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation; and two FCS-related entities.
- The FCS Building Association (FCSBA) acquires, manages, and maintains facilities to house FCA’s headquarters and field office staff. The FCSBA was formed in 1981 and is owned by the FCS banks. The FCA board oversees FCSBA’s activities on behalf of its owners.
- Farm Credit Foundations provides human resource services to its employer-owners, including payroll processing, benefits administration, centralized vendor management, workforce management and operations, corporate tax and financial reporting services, and retirement workshops. It is owned by AgriBank and each of its 17 affiliated associations, as well as 39 associations and 1 service corporation (AgVantis Inc) affiliated with CoBank.