The company that owns Chinook Financial in Drumheller is off to a good start for 2017 and area farmers can take some of the credit.
Income before taxes reached nearly $4.5 million for the first three months as loans increased by $9 million to $3.7 billion as of January 31.
"Our members that are borrowing money are paying the bills, they're paying the expenses and covering the cost of deposits," explained Connect First Credit Union president Scot Hadden. "We're always trying to make sure that our loans are growing, but it means our staff are engaged with our members. When they need assistance they're coming to us and that's exactly what we want."
While earnings and loans are up, member deposits decreased by $14 million to $3.9 billion.
"From an agricultural standpoint, I think farmers historically spend money in our first fiscal quarter," outlined Hadden. "They're getting ready for the next growing season so, instead of having money in their account, the money's going out of their account. They're using their lines of credit."
He added the downtown in the oil patch hasn't helped either, although Hadden maintains that shouldn't hurt his company.
"I don't think Chinook has ever had this much momentum on the agricultural side," he told 99.5 Drum FM. "It's the fastest growing sector within Chinook Financial right now and it's a real priority for us, so we want to keep that ag momentum growing."
Hadden says he's proud of the resilience shown by Chinook Financial's 100,000 members in tough economic times.
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