Things are looking pretty good down on the farm.
The Farm Credit Bank of Baltimore, Maryland's largest agriculture lender, reported a 37 percent jump in third-quarter net income yesterday and said it has not been plagued by the declining real estate values that have haunted some other commercial banks in the region.
Stephen Swift, treasurer of the cooperative banking system, which serves the mid-Atlantic region and Puerto Rico, said the bank's $3.05 billion in outstanding loans has not been adversely affected by declining real estate values that have caused problems for urban lenders.
Mr. Swift acknowledged that housing values have declined but said it "has been spotty, and this is not a big part of our business."
"The agricultural economy in the mid-Atlantic region continues to show stability, as reflected by our increasing loan volume and the soundness of our loan portfolio's credit quality," Gene Swackhamer, the bank's president, said. Third-quarter loan volume increased 6.8 percent, from $2.8 billion at the end of the third quarter in 1989. Provisions for loan losses were $400,000 during the third quarter, up from $300,000 in 1989.
Net income for the three months that ended Sept. 30 was $5.9 million, up from $4.3 million in the previous year.
Net income for the first nine months of 1990 was $14 million, down from $19.3 million for the same period last year, when earnings were inflated by a change in accounting procedures.
Assets totaled $3.67 billion as of Sept. 30, up from $3.43 billion on the same date last year.
Mr. Swackhamer said the bank's loan volume has increased for 12 consecutive quarters and noted that the bank's customers have enjoyed stable farm income and dependable off-farm income.
The state Department of Agriculture reported that farm income has risen steadily in recent years to an estimated $550 million last year.