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About banks & associations

The 4 banks and 56 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:

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:

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.

Service corporations

The System also contains the following six service corporations. The Farm Credit Act allows System banks and associations to form service corporations to perform functions and services on their behalf.

Page updated: January 04, 2024