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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Northwest Farm Credit Services?
Northwest Farm Credit Services (Northwest FCS) is a 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 Farm Credit System that supports agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services
How is Northwest FCS different from other lenders?
For more than 100 years, Northwest FCS has been solely dedicated to helping farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Customers know they can depend on our expertise and commitment in good times and bad. Our cooperative structure is important to customers because it means they have a say in how Northwest FCS does business. Earnings are retained by the association, which returns a portion of those earnings in the form of patronage to customer-members.
Is Northwest FCS a government agency?
No. While the Farm Credit System was created by the government in 1916 and is regulated by the government, we are a cooperative lending institution owned and governed by our customer-members. The Farm Credit System was created to provide a reliable source of credit for farmers, ranchers, timber producers, commercial fisherman, agribusinesses and rural homeowners.
How has Northwest FCS returned value to customers through the Patronage Program?
Because of our strong financial position, Northwest FCS as a cooperative annually returns value to our customers through our Patronage Program. For 2016, Northwest FCS returned $99.4 million to customers through the program to reduce their cost of borrowing. The Northwest FCS Board of Directors has approved a cash patronage return of 1.0 percent of a customer’s eligible average daily loan balance for stockholders in good standing. The board annually evaluates the association's financial position and alternatives for returning value to its customers.
How is Northwest FCS helping young and beginning farmers?
For generations, we've been providing financing to farmers and ranchers. Many of our employees come from farm families. As a result, we are dedicated to helping young, beginning and small producers.
Does Northwest FCS offer services other than loans to farmers and ranchers?
We believe – and more importantly, our customers believe – that insurance, management education and our other related services are important to business success. Northwest FCS has helped farmers keep going in the face of personal and natural disaster through our insurance programs, and customers know that management education is an essential element of the growth and evolution of their farms and ranches.
What is GSE status?
A Government Sponsored Enterprise, or GSE, refers to a financial service organization created by the U.S. Congress to enhance the flow of credit to targeted sectors of the economy. The Farm Credit System was created in 1916 to provide a stable and reliable source of debt capital for the nation's agriculture system and rural America. Congress initially provided $125 million in seed money for the Farm Credit System but that investment was repaid in 1947, and the System currently operates without any financial support from the federal government.

As a GSE, the System is regulated by the Farm Credit Administration, an independent federal agency. Members of Farm Credit Administration's Board of Directors are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Having GSE status helps the Farm Credit System ensure that rural America has steady access to competitively priced funds that are necessary to finance growth and maintain the quality of life in rural communities and on the farm.
How does Northwest FCS reach out to minorities?
Northwest FCS aggressively competes in the marketplace for agricultural and rural loans every day, in good times and bad. We work hard to find customers of all types. Northwest FCS is, by law and by policy, an equal opportunity lender. Our mission is to provide a dependable and competitive source of funding to help ensure the well-being of Northwest agriculture. Many rural families and communities reflect and represent minority populations, and Northwest FCS works with them on the same basis as we would with non-minority customers.
Where can I purchase Farm Credit notes and bonds?
The Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation is the agent for the Farm Credit System institutions. Because the System does not accept deposits, the System relies on the Funding Corporation to raise money for loans and leases through the sale of debt securities in the domestic and international money markets. The Funding Corporation partners with a select group of investment and dealer banks that provide underwriting, trading and distribution capabilities. Investors can contact a representative of one of the firms in the Selling Group or their local broker or investment manager for information on purchasing specific Farm Credit securities. Farm Credit securities are generally not issued or sold directly to investors.