Written By: Leah Chester-Davis
Convenience is king in many aspects of our lives. Make something quick and easy – be it meals, a more efficient farm implement, an ATM at the grocery store – and we’re usually all for it. That goes for financing, too.
Less than 5 years ago, Carolina Farm Credit joined the EXPRESS initiative, an equipment financing program that teams up Farm Credit and equipment dealers. One of the goals is to provide easy, on-the-spot financing at dealers across the state. Currently, 67 dealers in the territory participate in the program, making it easier and more convenient for farmers to purchase either new or used farm equipment of all kinds, including tractors and implements.
James L. Taylor, Jr., Farm Credit EXPRESS Sales Manager, and a relationship manager working out of the Salisbury office, says it’s a win-win-win for the three parties involved. “The EXPRESS program has excellent rates and is available for new and used equipment. Instead of offering zero financing on equipment, a dealer can offer a cash price, which lowers the cost of equipment,” explains Taylor. “Customers benefit because they can finance with EXPRESS while getting the lower cash price. It lowers the cash price upfront.”
Taylor cites other benefits for the customer:
- Faster service and a one-stop shop is part of the convenience factor. Time is money, the saying goes, and EXPRESS is designed to help farmers get the financing help they need quickly. “EXPRESS is often a day or two faster than conventional financing,” says Taylor.
- While all paperwork is handled by the dealer, a Farm Credit borrower continues to earn a patronage refund.
- Financing is on one item and not cross-collateralized so it’s not tied to other loans or assets.
- Farm Credit respects and values the relationships that are formed between customers and loan officers. A member still maintains the same loan officer and any loans go to that loan officer’s portfolio.
While farmers cite convenience factors, equipment dealers involved in the program benefit too. “Many of the customers are current Farm Credit borrowers and they would get a loan from us anyway,” says Taylor, “but by using the EXPRESS program the dealer has a great finance program at no cost to them. They can usually work the deal faster than sending a customer to a Farm Credit office.”
While Taylor is enthusiastic about pointing out the benefits to both dealers and customers, he admits the value of the program to Farm Credit. “We get introduced to new customers that did not know about us,” he explains. “It gives our loan officers a chance to educate them on the services we offer.”
“What I like,” Taylor adds, “is that it helps build and develop a deeper relationship between Carolina Farm Credit and the various local tractor and equipment dealers. Now, the dealers are more my customers instead of my competitors in the finance world. I like it that we work together to leverage modern technology to use time more efficiently for the customer, the dealer and the loan officer.”