Mississippi Land Bank Cleveland Branch Serving Bolivar and Sunflower Counties

By Angela Rogalski

Mississippi Land Bank, ACA has been serving communities in Northern Mississippi for over 100 years. As part of the Farm Credit System, Mississippi Land Bank, ACA has been providing agriculture and rural America with consistent, reliable credit and related financial services for generations.

Rob Taylor is Vice President and Branch Manager of the Cleveland location. Taylor says what makes Mississippi Land Bank different from other lending institutions is that the bank is owned by its borrowers.

“We are a true cooperative,” says Taylor “When you get a loan with Mississippi Land Bank, you purchase stock in the company, which that stock is capped at a $1,000 maximum, so no one buys more than $1,000 worth of stock. You become part owner of the cooperative. That being said, we share our profits with our owners. So, we pay a patronage dividend annually to our customers. And it works as a direct reduction of the customer’s interest rate; we don’t hold the money or roll it over, pay a portion one year, it accrues based upon the average daily balance of the loan just like the interest would and we write a check back annually. And that acts as a reduction of the loan’s interest rate.”

And Taylor says that Mississippi Land Bank is all about the rural landowner and the farmer and his or her needs when it comes to being successful.

“We do loans for everything that a farmer could need for their business,” he says. “From equipment to production loans to land loans, rural home loans, and even improvement loans on property.”

Mississippi Land Bank, ACA has a long history based on helping the agricultural community, farmers and rural landowners, obtain the money needed to help their endeavors come to fruition.

“We were created by an act of Congress,” says Taylor. “To help rural landowners have long-term financing and to aid farmers in receiving long-term financing, which was not available in the early 1900s. So, because of that fact, we were termed at one time as a Federal Land Bank, but we are not a federal institution, even though we were created by an act of Congress, we’re owned by our borrowers. We’ve been in the business a long time doing land loans, production loans, equipment loans, and whatever the farmer needs.”

Another aspect that makes Mississippi Land Bank different, according to Taylor,  is that when people want to buy a piece of property, the odds are good that bank representatives have already seen the property or know about that piece of property.

“We may have already appraised that property; we may can help with some history about it,” he says. “We’ve just been doing this for so long. And another important thing is if someone comes in to get a loan, with most other typical banks, the customer will have to pay for an appraisal on land, but with us we do our appraisals in-house, so that’s part of our fees and less cost to the individual getting that loan. And we’ve also started a referral system for our customers. If you’re an existing customer with us and you refer a new customer, we have a program that will pay you a referral fee.”

Taylor is in his thirteenth year with Mississippi Land Bank, ACA. He received his master’s from Mississippi State in Agronomy and started his career as a salesman for United Agri Products. His background in agriculture has been very important in his present career he says.

“When I was hired thirteen years ago here at the bank, one of the things they said to me was they could teach me to lend money, but they needed someone who understood the farming community and farming in particular, which is a little bit different from your standard bank, because Mississippi Land Bank is committed to the farming community and rural America.”