Rural Mainstreet Index Fears Farm Foreclosure Threat to Banks

Dan Economy, Industry News Release

rural mainstreetThe Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index is still below growth-neutral, which it has been for some time. The index jumped six points from September to October, but low crop prices are still inhibiting growth.

Ernie Goss, the author of the index, says, “As a result of low commodity prices and weak farm income, 9.5 percent of bank CEOs expect farm foreclosures to become the biggest threat to banking operations over the next five years,” says Goss. He doesn’t think the bottom is in yet in terms of foreclosures, delinquencies, and bankruptcies. Goss says the bottom is still out there.

Lenders who participated in the RMI survey say they’re also keeping an eye on the Federal Reserve for another potential rate hike.

Goss says rural bankers are mostly supportive of a possible rate hike, saying, “about 64 percent of bankers expect one more rate hike in 2017.”

As combines are rolling across rural America, bankers are reporting mixed results. The survey shows only two percent of bankers expect corn prices from $3.50 to $3.75 were above break-even levels.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.

from Creighton University

September Rural Mainstreet Index Reaches 2017 Low:
More than Half of Bankers Restructured Farm Loans

September Survey Results at a Glance:

* The overall index sank to its lowest level since December 2016 and remained below growth neutral.
* For the 46th straight month, average farmland prices declined across the 10 state region.
* For the 49th straight month, the agriculture equipment sales index fell below growth neutral.
* As a result of falling farm income, more than 51 percent of bank CEOs, reported restructuring farm loans, and approximately 18.6 percent indicated increasing collateral requirements.
* Bank CEOs reported only a 2.1 percent increase in farm loan defaults over the past year.

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