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Soaring bankruptcies in Farm Belt force banks to boost defenses - American Banker

Banks that serve U.S. farmers are increasingly restructuring existing loans and boosting the collateral needed for new ones as the numbers of late and missed payments have risen. While regional banks are healthy, they're clearly boosting their defenses against the risks they face. In March, a report by First Midwest Bank in Chicago showed past-due agricultural loans up 287% in 2018 over the previous year. Meanwhile, cases handled by the Iowa Mediation Service involving farmers unable to make payments rose 20%. Farmer bankruptcies in six Midwest states rose 30% to 103 in 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. To hold back the tide, Farmers National Bank in Prophetstown, Illinois, is restructuring more and more loans to keep growers solvent while trimming the bank's own risk.

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