Since 1998, AgDirect has been serving customers and dealers using a point-of-purchase model that has become one of the fastest growing equipment financing programs in the nation. It was a Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) vision built on improving the user experience and providing personalized service.
“Before AgDirect, the Farm Credit System did not have a consistent market presence in the machinery and equipment financing space, but being a mission-oriented lender we thought there was a significant opportunity to provide solutions and value to our customers,” says Jim Roberge, senior vice president for commercial lending at FCSAmerica.
“Fast forward 20 years and I think it’s the best collaborative approach the Farm Credit System has today.”
AgDirect is offered by 15 participating Farm Credit System associations and its portfolio reaches well above $3 billion. It’s also now available for auction and private party transactions as well as dealer locations.
AgDirect continues to serve as a competitive alternative for producers in 34 states looking to purchase, lease or refinance new or used farm equipment.
Better customer experience
Before AgDirect, the loan application and credit approval process required customers to visit their lending office, fill out a loan application, and then drive to the equipment dealer to make their purchase.
“What made AgDirect successful in the market was that we understood the needs of our customers and we focused on developing long-term dealer relationships to establish their trust as a financial partner and help them sell equipment. Ultimately, our reputation allowed us to bring a better transaction process in serving our customers,” says Roberge.
The AgDirect model not only scaled back the length of the application, it accelerated credit decisions. Suddenly, customers could complete their loan application and have a credit response within minutes right at the dealership.
Collaboration outside of FCSAmerica’s four-state market contributed to AgDirect’s continued growth and success. In 2010, other Farm Credit System Institutions started offering AgDirect financing in their market. Since then, customers from coast to coast have benefited from the attractive rates, flexible terms and responsive service AgDirect delivers.
Investing in technology
As AgDirect evolved, so did the technology used to support customers and dealers through the transaction process. Fax machines and overnight mail were replaced with online tools including a built-in payment calculator that allowed dealers to provide their customers with accurate pricing options and financing comparisons.
An online application and mobile app were also added to improve ease of use and provide anytime access.
“As we look to the future, we’ll position AgDirect to continue doing what it has done for the last 20 years, and that is serving our dealers and customers while changing to meet marketplace needs,” says Brian Legried, senior vice president for AgDirect. “One of the things I’m most proud of is the foresight Farm Credit had to invest in the technology that made the AgDirect platform what it is today.”
Legried says he is also proud of the people and partners who have worked together to share their agricultural expertise and a focus in equipment financing.
“AgDirect changed the industry, and there’s a lot of pride in the personalized service we offer. It’s been a win for the dealers, it’s been a win for customers and it’s been a success story for our program and the Farm Credit System Institutions offering it.”