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What To Look For When Choosing an Agricultural Lender

When it’s time to support a customer’s growth or to grow your own business, the right agricultural loan can make all the difference. You just have to find it.

Doing so isn’t always easy. Agriculture is a unique business and it’s in your best interest to find a lender who understands its nuances and unique considerations.

With that being said, here are our strategies for the best ways to find an agricultural lender to support your project or your portfolio.

Find The Right Fit

This is perhaps your most important consideration, so it makes sense to start here. Successful projects are built on the backs of strong relationships and you’ll feel better about your financing if you make a connection with your lender.

A good partner won’t tell you how to manage your operation. They’ll listen to your proposal and see how they fit into it without trying to monopolize your strategy. At the same time, if the lender does not agree with the proposal you have in place, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong. They may simply not be the right partner for your project and you’re better off looking at other alternatives.

Focus On Experience

What is the prospective lender’s experience in the agricultural industry? This should be one of your first questions and if the answer satisfies you, narrow your question to learn more about how much experience the lender has with projects similar to yours. It’s also a perk if your lender is vested in agriculture in some way whether it be owning a farm of their own or being involved in community agricultural organizations and events. This latter clause assures you they will be paying more attention to market shifts and be empowered with strengthened market knowledge.

You can also learn more about the stability of your lender online. The FDIC website allows you to review prospective lenders’ annual reports and if you’re considering partnering with a Farm Credit System Association, you can find their quarterly or annual reports on their website.

Consult With Those You Trust

It can be the recommendation that matters most. Collecting opinions from other industry professionals or producers to learn from their experiences can be invaluable when determining the right lending partner for you. Talk with those whose opinions you value and see what they thought of their experiences with a given lender. Be mindful to compare similar situations whenever possible but pay attention to the process. Could you work with this lender if they follow through as described from previous encounters?

You should also look for producers or financial institutions that have worked with the lender multiple times on several different projects and pay special attention to how the lender handled any situations when the circumstances were less than ideal. You want a lender who will stick with you through anything, after all.

You can also review online testimonials or online reviews and rankings to supplement your decision.

Consider The Response Time

How fast does a prospective lender get back to you with answers to your questions or to move the conversation forward? It’s an important thing to consider because, as they say, time is money, and a lender who isn’t prompt in their responses when they’re trying to earn your business likely will be even slower when they actually have it.

A loan officer who has the power to make routine decisions themselves and one who is reachable after standard hours has the capacity to make your project move along more quickly and effectively.

Value A Customized Approach

One of the greatest draws of the agricultural industry is that things are always changing. You need to adapt to succeed in this market and your agricultural lending partner should feel the same. When considering a lender place a high value on one who can work with you to create customized solutions, terms and conditions to better match the needs of your project.

Every financing situation is different after all, and you deserve a lender that will drill down to create the best solution for your need.

To learn more about how Agri-Access can provide the capital you need to grow your loan portfolio or your business, contact us today.