U.S. farm banks increased agricultural lending by 5.3 percent, or $5.5 billion, to $108 billion in 2018. The American Bankers Association recently released its annual Farm Bank Performance Report. The report found that in 2018, farm banks’ asset quality remained healthy and non-performing loans stayed at a pre-recession level of 0.52 percent of total loans. The report is an analysis by ABA’s economic research team based on FDIC data and examines the performance of the nation’s 1,700 banks that specialize in agricultural lending. ABA defines farm banks as banks whose ratio of domestic farm loans to total domestic loans is greater than or equal to the industry average.
More than 94 percent of farm banks were profitable in 2018, with more than 63 percent reporting an increase in earnings. Farm banks also served as job creators, adding more than 1,500 jobs in 2018, a 1.8 percent increase, and employing more than 86,000 rural Americans. Since 2008, employment at farm banks has risen 24.4 percent.