When Lee Million, who raises meat goats in Watauga County, talks about the local farming community he’s quick to point out how close-knit it is. “When somebody else needs a little help farming you try to give them your opinion on what has helped you get through certain situations and how to improve and how to grow to get where you want to be.”
That’s why he has recently referred two friends to Carolina Farm Credit. One is getting into farming and was looking to buy cattle. The other was in the market for a tractor. To Lee, it was important to share information about a lender who understands agriculture.
One of the hallmarks of Carolina Farm Credit is that many of the loan officers have farming experience or backgrounds working in agriculture in some capacity. That makes a big difference to Lee. He says he appreciates “working with somebody who actually knows what you are trying to do.”
In this case, that’s Mindy Herman, Carolina Farm Credit loan officer who recently relocated from the Jefferson Branch to the Lenoir Branch. “Mindy has a farming background so that’s why I referred them to her because I thought it was important that a bank understand why they are wanting to take out a certain loan, not just give them the money and give them a high interest rate,” Lee explains. “Anytime it comes up in conversation about money, I say, ‘go to Carolina Farm Credit!’”
Mindy says she often sees friends trying to help out a friend and that often leads to referrals to Carolina Farm Credit.
“People trust their peer’s opinions and experiences,” she says. “They are going to believe other people’s reviews and whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied. That’s why referrals are so important to me because it means someone is saying, ‘Hey, I was satisfied with Farm Credit. Farm Credit went above and beyond. Farm Credit is helping me farm and accomplish my dreams. Farm Credit did everything they could to help me out.’ That means more to that person who is listening and trying to decide what to do and who to go with for financing than anything else.”
While both Lee and Mindy acknowledge that the driving force behind a referral is a happy customer who wants to see others have a good experience, Carolina Farm Credit gives a small token of appreciation to current borrowers who make a referral.
Lee says it’s a small part of the hospitality that is extended to him whenever he deals with Carolina Farm Credit. “It really makes you feel appreciated,” he says.
Some of the current “gratitude for referral” gifts include a Carolina Farm Credit shotgun case, pistol case, cooler, Larry Light, or plug in.
“When you wish to refer a friend or acquaintance to Farm Credit, all it takes is a phone call, e-mail, or text to your loan officer or the person you referred letting us know you referred them,” says Mindy.