July 1, 2020
Dear Farm Credit East Customer:
We hope you, your families and your employees continue to be well. While we cannot yet declare victory over the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to monitor developments and adjust our business practices to serve our members in the best possible way. Part of this commitment includes keeping members well informed, so we wanted to provide you with an update on your cooperative.
Committed to customer value
On June 26, your board of directors approved a $30 million advance on 2020 patronage to provide some additional cash flow this summer. While this will not increase our total planned patronage for the year, given the extraordinary events of 2020 it will provide timely assistance to offset some of the impacts of the coronavirus. Eligible customers can expect to receive this payment later in July.
Know that your board and management are focused on member needs and are committed to ensuring Farm Credit East remains your trusted financial partner. We will continue to look for additional ways to provide value through your membership in the cooperative.
Our Knowledge Exchange team and tax consultants continue to stay up to date on federal and state relief programs and tax law changes relevant to ag businesses. We provide this information on our dedicated COVID-19 resource page as it becomes available. Visit FarmCreditEast.com/ResourceHub to stay informed.
Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness
This spring, a team of financial services staff helped more than 1,000 customers obtain in excess of $100 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. As we pivot our focus to the PPP loan forgiveness process, our staff stand ready to assist. Each Wednesday, two of our knowledgeable business consultants host office hours to provide updated information provided by the Small Business Administration on loan forgiveness and answer any questions on the application process. Join one of these sessions on Wednesday at 9 a.m. to learn more. You can also view our list of frequently asked questions.
Industry impact and outlook webinars
We recently hosted a series of economic outlook webinars to provide insights into the coronavirus impact on the region’s agricultural sectors. Visit FarmCreditEast.com/webinars to access the recordings from any of these sessions.
Our offices began to reopen at reduced staff capacities in mid-June. Access to offices continues to be limited to staff, but we look forward to welcoming customers back in late July. Additionally, our staff have resumed visiting customer operations, limited to one visit per day. Please be in touch with your Farm Credit East representative if you’d like to schedule a visit. Ultimately, our goal is to meet with you on your terms, whether that is in person or virtually.
The safety of staff and customers remains our top priority. Both staff in the office and those visiting customer operations are taking all necessary precautions, including daily health checks, regular sanitization, wearing face masks and/or practicing social distancing. We are monitoring all interactions so that we can alert anyone impacted if an issue arises.
Our cooperative’s values
This spring has been a difficult time for our nation. This period of continuous challenges, whether they are health related, economic, political or social, reminds us all of the importance of continuing to be an organization that is focused on treating everyone — our staff, our customers and our communities — with respect, and working hard each and every day to build the kind of trust that will allow us to move forward on all of these issues. Your board, management and staff are committed to continuing to serve all our stakeholders well beyond just a business relationship and provide opportunities for all. We do this because we believe this will strengthen our cooperative and the industries we serve, but above all because it is the right thing to do.
While we may not yet be in the clear, we’re happy to make positive steps to return to some semblance of normal. We are incredibly proud of the efforts of our staff and we appreciate your flexibility in working with us during this period. Our business is built on relationships, both internally among our staff and externally with customers, so the whole team looks forward to renewing those connections. Thank you for continuing to choose Farm Credit East.
Michael J Reynolds
Chief Executive Officer
Farm Credit East, ACA