Ag Lending: MetLife Moves Into 100th Year In The Market On Upbeat Note

    Corn crop landscape. Photo: Bill Griffith

    Going into its 100th year in ag lending, MetLife, Inc. today announced that the company originated $3.6 billion in agricultural loans in 2016 through its subsidiaries and affiliates. MetLife’s Agricultural Finance Group has a loan portfolio at year-end 2016 of $14.7 billion, the largest in the company’s history.

    “MetLife had a busy year lending to its agricultural customers in the United States and abroad, growing its portfolio to a record level,” said Robert Merck, global head of the Agricultural Finance Group for MetLife. “This year we are celebrating our 100th anniversary as an agricultural lender, a major milestone for us, and something we are especially proud to commemorate. Our customers know that they can rely on us as a trusted source of financing for their long-term growth, and this drives our success year after year.”

    In 2016, the average loan-to-value ratio of MetLife’s overall ag mortgage portfolio remained at 43%.

    “We are proud of our performance in 2016, growing our portfolio to its highest level ever despite lower commodity prices and net farm income,” said Barry Bogseth, managing director and head of MetLife’s Agricultural Finance Group. “In 2017, we expect to continue our growth by identifying superior agricultural lending opportunities in the United States and abroad.”

    Highlights of MetLife’s domestic agricultural lending transactions for 2016 include:

    • Good Luck Properties, LLC: an $11.1 million, 20-year term loan fixed for 10 years. The loan was secured by a high quality 4,545 acre irrigated farm located in Mississippi. Security will be used for the production of cotton, rice and row crops, and the farm is “managed by a family with decades of crop production experience,” according to a MetLife press release.
    • Rose Acre Farms, Inc.: $49 million, 15-year fixed rate financing, to be funded in three portions over two years. The loan was secured by a new cage-free egg layer facilities located in Arizona. “Rose Acre Farms is the second largest producer and marketer of eggs in the United States.”
    • Keweenaw Land Association Limited: $30 million, 10-year fixed rate term loan to be funded in two portions with an adjustable rate revolving line of credit. The loan was secured by high grade timberland located across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin. The borrower is a forest products and land management company, the release noted.

    MetLife’s Agricultural Finance Group oversees an agricultural portfolio consisting primarily of mortgages for farms, ranches, food production, agribusiness and timberland. MetLife has agricultural investments offices in Fresno, Calif., Overland Park, Kan., Memphis, Tenn., and a consulting office in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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