Ridgeland, MS - First South has announced it will distribute $12.9 million in patronage refund checks to its member-borrowers in April. Patronage, which is a form of dividend payment, is based upon the association’s earnings and financial performance. “The amount of patronage/dividend payment each borrower receives is determined by the borrower’s participation in the cooperative. It represents a savings of approximately 12.4% of the borrower’s 2016 interest cost,” said Roger Chappell, CEO of First South.
“For 22 consecutive years, First South has distributed patronage refunds to its member-borrowers, totaling approximately $320 million. Another strong earnings year in 2016 has allowed us to continue this commitment of returning profits to our customers. Patronage refunds are one of the many benefits of borrowing from First South Farm Credit,” said Gaston Lanaux, Chairman of the First South Board of Directors.
“When we distribute our profits to our borrowers, it reduces their effective cost of borrowing,” Chappell stated, “and it proves there are distinct financial benefits in doing business on a cooperative basis. We offer a competitive interest rate up front, and then return a portion of our profits back to our membership through the patronage program.”
First South Farm Credit is a member-owned cooperative providing short-, intermediate- and long-term financing and related services to full- and part-time farmers, agricultural-related businesses and rural landowners in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. First South serves over 6,900 members with loans outstanding totaling $2 billion through its network of 44 branch offices in its three-state territory. First South Farm Credit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, which celebrated its 100th year anniversary in 2016.