There is some good financial news, even during the current economic downturn. CoBank, a leading national cooperative bank serving agribusinesses and rural utilities throughout the U.S., recently announced record financial results for 2008, with continued good credit quality and strong capital and liquidity at year-end.
CoBank’s net earnings increased 28 percent to $533.4 million, up from $415.6 million in 2007, driven by robust growth in average loan volume across all operating segments. Net interest income rose 34 percent to $862.6 million, compared to $645.4 million in 2007. On Dec. 31, 2008, the bank’s loan and lease portfolio totaled $44.6 billion.
"CoBank delivered exceptional financial performance during 2008 on behalf of customer-owners, investors, and our other stakeholders," said Robert B. Engel, CoBank president and CEO. "As importantly, we were able to stand by our borrowers in the face of extremely challenging conditions in commodity markets, credit markets, and the broader economy.”
Extreme volatility in the grain, oilseed, and farm supply markets during the first eight months of the year were a key driver of increased financing requirements from CoBank’s agribusiness customers. Lending to rural providers of power, water, and communications services also experienced robust growth.
Engel noted that the bank’s financial performance in 2009 will be influenced by a variety of external factors, including prices for agricultural commodities and the cost of Farm Credit System debt securities, which serve as the primary source of funds for CoBank loans.