In its third quarter financial report released today, the district reported a loan portfolio of $7.141 billion on Sept. 30, a 7.1 percent increase over the $6.668 billion reported a year earlier.

The Tenth District, the largest rural lending network in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas, is composed of the Austin-based Farm Credit Bank of Texas (FCBT) and 22 affiliated financing associations.

"The continued growth of our loan portfolio is attributed to the low interest-rate environment of the last two years, enhanced marketing and customer service efforts, and continued demand for real estate in most areas of the district," said FCBT Chief Executive Officer Larry Doyle.

"Despite a decline in interest income during the first nine months of the year, we successfully reduced our cost of debt to generate positive net interest income," he said.

District net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2003, totaled $37.8 million, a 12 percent increase over the $33.6 million reported for the third quarter of 2002. Net income for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2003, was $104.7 million, a 14 percent increase over the $92.2 million in net income for the same period of 2002.

District credit quality remained strong, with 97 percent of gross loan volume rated acceptable at Sept. 30, 2003, down only slightly from 97.4 percent acceptable at Dec. 31, 2002, and 97.1 percent acceptable at Sept. 30, 2002. Doyle said that the portfolio benefited from government support to farmers, associations' use of Farm Service Agency guarantees and the availability of off-farm income to a large number of producers.

The bank and associations' combined assets totaled $8.359 billion at Sept. 30, 2003, compared with $7.690 billion at Dec. 31, 2002.

The Farm Credit Bank of Texas provides funding and financial services to 12 Agricultural Credit Associations, which make agricultural and rural real estate loans, and to 10 Federal Land Credit Associations, which specialize in rural real estate lending. At Sept. 30, 2003, these customer-owned financing cooperatives reported a total of 63,808 loans outstanding to agricultural producers, agribusiness operators, country homeowners and other rural landowners.

The Tenth Farm Credit District is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System. Nationally, the System reported net income of $462 million and $1.340 billion for the three and nine months ended Sept. 30, 2003, respectively. This compares with net income of $437 million and $1.371 billion for the same periods last year.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com