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2016 In Review

From The President
Tom Tracy, Chief Executive Officer

Dave Owens

Dear Farm Credit Illinois Members,

 2016 proved to be a year of unmistakable change for members of the farming industry as the ag economy downturn took root. Yet, your financial cooperative remains strong and prepared for what’s next. The System’s centennial allowed FCI to honor the past and, most importantly, look to the future.

2016 brings financial resilience

Our strategic focus remained centered on credit quality, stable earnings, and growth, in that order. Loan volume grew 1.3% from 2015 despite current conditions. This slower growth resulted in a boost to our permanent capital ratio of 17.20%, which is well above standards established by regulation as well as internal guidelines.

Following a strong year of annual earnings in 2015, your Association turned in record net income results of $69.6 million. The 13.9% increase from the prior year was caused primarily by increased average loan balances while, at the same time, operating expenses were held essentially flat. Although, larger premiums paid into the Farm Credit Insurance Fund partially offset these positives.

Despite the low commodity prices and decreased working capital for many members, credit quality remained very strong at 98.40% for all loans owned and managed by the Association. The forecast for 2017 includes continued strong portfolio quality, stable earnings, and moderate growth.

Vision goals enhance relationships in turbulent times

The industry is abuzz with stories focused on strategies to embrace during the downturn in the ag economy, including those from Farm Credit Illinois. As we close out the second year of working towards FCI’s Vision 2025 goals, staff are living out our mission of Helping Farm Families Succeed, through both the prosperous and challenging times.

Utilizing expertise in credit, loan, and risk management, staff are working closely with members whose operations are displaying signs of stress. This proactive strategy is helping farm families make important decisions to improve their financial position, increasing their staying power for generations to come.

Encouraging life-long learning for our future

A key piece to FCI’s future success is a commitment to developing staff to best serve you. Whether it’s helping pay for college courses, or facilitating internal training, FCI encourages team members to take advantage of educational and professional development opportunities to enhance their service capacity.

Many of our key, tenured leaders will be retiring in the coming years. FCI is planning ahead to identify and train future successors in these situations so there is no gap in service and institutional knowledge isn’t lost. Your Board of Directors made succession planning a priority years ago and have ensured succession remains an FCI primary focus.

Change can be energizing, and we are seeing that take hold as new opportunities and leaders emerge from within the Association, bringing new ideas, products, and services forward.

Strategic framework designed to embrace change

As FCI considers future changes and challenges, we can turn to our core values of family, integrity, relationships, expertise, and passion, and a core purpose aimed at supporting the farm families and rural businesses that make up FCI’s membership. This framework and strategic philosophy will guide our actions and decisions today, positioning us to achieve our goals in the days and years ahead. 

We look forward to the challenges and opportunities we will face together in the coming year while balancing consistency and change. Even though change can’t always be forecasted or controlled, we can take ownership of our response and attitude towards it.

Thank you, for choosing to be a member of Farm Credit Illinois, and best wishes for a successful and significant 2017.