SPOKANE, Wash. — Owners of agricultural, forestry and fisheries businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska who are customer-members of Northwest Farm Credit Services, will soon receive a mid-year payment of their 2020 patronage dividends, according to Board Chair Greg Hirai. This early distribution was approved to enhance the wellbeing of Northwest FCS customer-members and their communities.
“Agricultural businesses across the Northwest are facing a difficult year due to significant financial and operational impacts of COVID-19,” said Hirai. “To provide additional liquidity and added flexibility for Northwest FCS customer-members, our board voted to pay a one-time, mid-year cash patronage payment of $43 million, equating to 0.50% of a customer’s eligible average daily loan balance for the first six months of 2020.”
As a member-owned financial cooperative, Northwest FCS returns a portion of net earnings each year in the form of cash patronage dividends to stockholders based upon their eligible average daily loan balance. Cash patronage is typically paid in the first quarter of the following year for the previous calendar year’s activity, which has been approximately 1.25% the last two years. Customer-members also receive other benefits, including business management education, market updates, and industry benchmarking information. After Northwest FCS’ 2020 full-year earnings are determined, and the board approves 2020 patronage dividends, the remaining cash patronage will be paid in February 2021.
“This is the first time our association is making a mid-year distribution as 2020 has been a highly unusual year, with the stress COVID-19 is placing on the economy and our customer-members,” Hirai said. “We are impressed with the resilience of business owners across the Northwest and encouraged by how they are making adjustments.”
Hirai stated that Northwest FCS has a solid financial foundation, and 2020 earnings continue to be strong. “We are well-positioned to support customer-members through volatile market cycles while maintaining financial stability.” Since the program began in 2000, Northwest FCS has paid more than $1.1 billion in cash patronage dividends to customer-members.
About Northwest Farm Credit Services
Northwest FCS is a $13 billion financial cooperative providing financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, commercial fishermen, timber producers, rural homeowners, and crop insurance customers in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Northwest FCS is a member of the nationwide Farm Credit System that supports agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. For more information, go to northwestfcs.com.
— Northwest Farm Credit Services
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