Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

CoBank Earnings Surge to $538 Million

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

CoBank Earnings Surge to $538 Million

Article excerpt

CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving U.S. agribusinesses and rural utilities, saw its net earnings for 2008 increase 28 percent, to $533.4 million. That's up from $415.6 million in 2007. The increase was driven by robust growth in average loan volume across all operating segments. Net interest income rose 34 percent, to $862.6 million, compared to $645.4 million in 2007.

At year's end, the bank's loan and lease portfolio totaled $44.6 billion and total assets were $61.2 billion, a $9-billion increase from 2007.

"CoBank delivered exceptional financial performance during 2008 on behalf of customer-owners, investors and our other stakeholders," says Robert B. Engel, CoBank president and chief executive officer. "As importantly, we were able to stand by our borrowers in the face of extremely challenging conditions in commodity markets, credit markets and the broader economy."

Extreme volatility in the grain, oilseed and farm supply markets during the first eight months of the year were a key driver of increased financing requirements from CoBank's agribusiness customers (see related article, page 4). Lending to rural providers of power, water and communications services also experienced robust growth.

CoBank is issuing $314 million in patronage payments to customer-owners, up significantly from the $245 million in patronage paid in 2007. Of that, $207 million will be paid in cash, with the remainder distributed in CoBank stock. …

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