Yankee Farm Credit Refunds $6.8 Million to Members

The following post was recently distributed as a news release and has been formated for our blog.

Williston, Vermont (March 26, 2020) Yankee Farm Credit today distributed $6.8 million to its members who borrowed from the cooperative. This distribution represents approximately 52% of Yankee’s 2019 net income of $13.2 million.

Brenda Frank, Yankee Farm Credit’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said that Yankee sent out payments to 1,305 borrowers on March 26th. The payments represent patronage refunds, which allow Yankee members to share in the cooperative’s 2019 earnings.

Ms. Frank explained, “The patronage refunds we provide to members are based on the profits that our association generated last year. We never forget that our members own Yankee Farm Credit, and whatever we don’t need to keep the Association strong, we return to our owners. The remaining profits are held as Association equity to keep the balance sheet strong through all cycles”

Ms. Frank added, “Patronage refunds represent one of the advantages of borrowing from your local agricultural credit association. The refunds were possible due to the high quality of our members and the strong management of the Yankee Farm Credit team. ”
Yankee Farm Credit has paid patronage refunds to its members every year since 1995. Total payments over those 25 years have exceeded $89 million.

Yankee Farm Credit Patronage Refund Fact Sheet

General information
When a customer borrows from Yankee Farm Credit, they become an owner and member of the cooperative. As stockholders, borrowers are entitled to share in the financial success of the cooperative.
A patronage refund is similar to a dividend paid on other types of stock.  However, because of Yankee's cooperative ownership structure, a patronage refund has two unique features:
  • Refunds are based on “patronage” — the amount of business that the member does with the cooperative.  This means that a member’s refund corresponds to the interest earned ¾ or “patronage” — on the member’s loan, not to the value of the member’s stock.
  • Refunds are taxed just once — at the member level.  Most corporate earnings are taxed twice: first at the corporate level (before dividends are paid out), and again at the stockholder level (where stockholders pay tax on dividends received).  Because Yankee is a cooperative, we can distribute earnings to stockholders without paying taxes at the “corporate” level, thus allowing our members (who must pay tax on their patronage refund) to receive a larger share of the Association’s net income. 
Common questions
As a borrower, how do I benefit from patronage refunds?
Your patronage refund reduces the effective cost of borrowing from Yankee.  You begin by borrowing at competitive rates, and then you earn money on the interest you pay.  In effect, the refund lowers your effective interest rate.
How much can I expect to earn?
Refunds vary, depending upon earnings and the overall financial goals of the organization.  In some years, no refunds may be awarded.  Keep in mind that refunds reduce the effective interest rates on loans. 
In recent history, how much has Yankee distributed to its members in patronage refunds?
Since 1995, Yankee Farm Credit has distributed more than $89 million in patronage refunds to its members.  In fact, we have distributed a patronage refund every year for the past 25 years.
Are patronage refunds paid in cash?
Cooperatives may pay a portion of patronage refunds in cash and a portion in allocated equities. Since 2002, Yankee has paid patronage refunds 100% in cash.
Who receives patronage refunds?
All stock-owning borrowers whose loans generated interest income for Yankee Farm Credit during the year.  (Refunds of $10 or less are not distributed.)
For more information about patronage refunds and other Farm Credit services, contact any local office:

White River Junction, 802.295.3670
Middlebury, 802.388.2692
St. Albans, 802.524.2938
Derby, 802.334.8050
Chazy, N.Y. 518.846.7330)
or email us at info@yankeefarmcredit.com


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