By JULIA MILLER
Mississippi Land Bank customers can look forward to receiving a record distribution of $3.5 million after a board of directors vote earlier this year.
“We want our borrowers to feel like their part of our family,” Claire Pegram, Chief Financial Officer of Mississippi Land Bank, said. “We want them to have a trusted partner.”
Mississippi Land Bank is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, a financial cooperative owned by its member-borrowers since 1916. Unlike commercial banking institutions, Mississippi Land Bank has a unique cooperative structure in which the member-borrowers share in the profits generated from lending activity.
“It helps reduce the overall interest rates for our customers,” she said. “They can use it for household purchases, to pay down loans, or invest in new property.”
Land Bank is a mortgage company that was chartered to serve rural North Mississippi, and they work with all types to help people in their community own their own piece of land.
“We’re geared more to the [agriculture] sector, and people who want to purchase outside the city limits,” Pegram said. “So many of our customers are people who have a regular job and want a part-time farm or a home. We help them to achieve their dreams.”
The bank has had roots in the Farm Credit system for more than 100 years, but the organization in its current state formed in 1996. This distribution is the largest distribution since then. This is Mississippi Land Bank’s fourth consecutive year of patronage returns in excess of $2 million. Since 1996, Mississippi Land Bank has returned nearly $33.5 million to its customers.
“We are so proud of our strong performance in 2017,” said Abbott Myers, board chairman. “It is even more rewarding to know that our success pays off – literally – for our customers. They are our owners, and we are delighted when our hard work delivers strong results for them.”
For Pegram the dedication to those in the agriculture sector comes from her own family.
“My husband is a farmer. My family are farmers,” she said. “It’s personal for me from someone whose family has benefitted. Agriculture is their livelihood.”
Pegram added that’s the motivation of most employees at Mississippi Land Bank. They strive to help their customers achieve their goals, whether someone is looking forward to farmland, recreational property or a site to build a new home.
“We benefit everyone who might have a dream of having a piece of that,” she said.
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