AgSouth Farm Credit and Carolina Farm Credit announced last week their intention to pursue a merger.
Under the terms of the “letter of intent,” which was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both associations, the combined entity would form the largest Ag lending cooperative in the Southeast. Based on the two Associations’ current portfolios, the merged entity would begin with more than $4.2 billion in gross loan volume serving more than 24,800 stockholders with more than 475 employees.
The two associations would operate as AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA. The combined agricultural credit association would serve 147 counties in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The headquarters would be located in Statesville, North Carolina. No branch office closures or branch staffing changes are anticipated as part of the merger.
“AgSouth is excited to partner with such a strong association as Carolina Farm Credit,” said Frank Ables, AgSouth Farm Credit chairman of the Board. “The potential merger will provide additional resources, an expanded team of experts in our industry and further financial strength for our stockholders, farmers, rural residents and agribusiness across our shared footprint.”
Vickie Smitherman, chair of the Carolina Farm Credit Board, said: “Both associations share a similar culture and values that focus on supporting and promoting our members and employees. With ever evolving markets within agriculture and rural America, this merger will ensure our ability to continue to meet our mission to support the needs of farmers and the rural communities we serve.”
If approved, the combined association would be led by current Carolina Farm Credit President and CEO, Vance Dalton, who has more than 29 years of Farm Credit leadership experience. AgSouth president and CEO Pat Calhoun, will retire after more than 34 years of Farm Credit service. Calhoun has led AgSouth Farm Credit for the past six years.
According to a release from AgSouth and Carolina Farm Credit, further due diligence is expected to confirm that a merger should generate meaningful benefits for the stockholders, agriculture producers and future producers, communities served and employees from both associations.
“Both Boards want to ensure the ability to evolve and not only meet but exceed the expectations of those we serve,” read the release from Maggie Hamm, chief marketing officer for Carolina Farm Credit. “With an expanded team there should be more access to specialized lenders available to provide the needs and expertise for our diverse market along with more efficiencies through access to increased resources in technology and capital.
“The Boards are dedicated to ensuring that members continue to receive relationship lending with personalized service from the same trusted experts with local loan decisions and delivery of financial services.”
According to the release, once due diligence is complete, the respective Boards will vote to approve merger agreement. If regulatory approval is then obtained, stockholders would receive a merger disclosure package in early 2023. A stockholder vote would occur afterwards, and, if approved, the merger would become effective on April 1, 2023.
Carolina Farm Credit
Carolina Farm Credit serves more than 12,000 members with more than $1.9 billion in gross accruing loans. The cooperative’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Browns Summit, Burnsville, Carthage, Conover, Ellerbe, Graham, Hendersonville, Jefferson, Lenoir, Lexington, Lincolnton, Monroe, Murphy, Pilot Mountain, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Salisbury, Shelby, Siler City, Sparta, Spindale, Statesville, Taylorsville, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville and Yanceyville.
AgSouth Farm Credit
AgSouth Farm Credit serves about 12,000 members with more than $2.3 billion in gross accruing loans. 59 Georgia counties with branches in Baxley, Blackshear, Carrollton, Douglas, Greenville, Griffin, Jesup, Madison, Statesboro, Sylvania, Thomaston and Vidalia. The association also serves 34 counties in South Carolina with branches in Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Batesburg, Camden, Laurens, Orangeburg, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, St. Matthews, Summerville and Walterboro