Rabobank announced this week that it will transfer the food and agriculture loan portfolio from its California retail banking operation, Rabobank, N.A., to Rabo AgriFinance, further positioning the U.S. operation to become the leading nationwide production ag lender in the U.S. As a result, the food and ag finance company will be positioned to grow considerably in the U.S. food and agriculture sector, the most important growth region for the bank globally.
The move comes as part of an agreement to sell the retail, business banking, commercial real estate, mortgage, wealth management and other non-Food and Agribusiness assets of Rabobank, N.A. to Walnut Creek, CA-based Mechanics Bank, a full-service community bank with 44 branches and $6B in assets in California.
“Rabobank is committed to supporting leading food and ag producers around the world. In North America, we have seen rapid growth in our rural banking business and by combining our California F&A portfolio into Rabo AgriFinance, we will be positioned to continue our substantial investments in North America,” says Paul Beiboer, CEO of Rabobank North America.
Rabo AgriFinance focuses on financing leading U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses and traces its roots back more than 115 years to its parent company, Netherlands-based Rabobank Group. When this transition is complete, Rabo AgriFinance will be the only U.S. lender to offer a broad, nationwide view of agriculture coupled with local expertise and global resources. The financing capacity, access to networks and sector-specific knowledge offered by Rabo AgriFinance are unmatched in the U.S. ag lending industry.
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“Our clients appreciate the access to global financing, knowledge and networks we are able to offer as an international finance company,” said Curt Hudnutt, Head of Rural Banking, Rabobank North America. “When we couple that global perspective with the knowledge and relationships offered by our local teams, our clients have a significant advantage in the food and ag space.”
Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Rabo AgriFinance currently has more than 40 offices across the U.S. and will open ten offices in California to continue supporting our staff and clients.
“Approximately 170 employees who are currently supporting food, agriculture and renewable energy at Rabobank, N.A. will become employees of Rabo AgriFinance, ensuring the continuation of the high quality of service to which our California clients are accustomed,” notes Beiboer.
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals, the approval of Rabobank Group and the completion of various closing conditions, and is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2019.