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American AgCredit reports record $81.3 million in earnings

American AgCredit, Sonoma County's largest financial institution, reported annual earnings increased 65 percent in 2010 to a record $81.3 million, up from $49.4 million the year before.

The Santa Rosa-based banking cooperative, which is a key lender to the ag sector, had $4.8 billion in assets at the end of 2010. Its assets increased about 2 percent compared to 2009, up from $4.7 billion.

“We're extremely pleased with our financial results and business performance for 2010,” said Ron Carli, president and chief executive.

The company has benefited from a stabilizing dairy market. The vineyard and winery industry, which represented the largest portion of its loan portfolio last year, has “fared relatively well during the economic challenges over the last two years,” according to its earning statement issued Monday.

A continued housing slump might further hurt its borrowers in the lumber industry, and the slow economic recovery and lack of government spending could hurt its loan portfolio.

““While credit quality is anticipated to remain sound in 2011, we expect slow economic recovery and fewer government support programs to affect the loan portfolio,” said Bruce Richardson, chief credit officer.

American AgCredit will issue a $26.3 million dividend to its customers.

Luther Burbank Savings is the county's second-largest financial institution with $3.45 billion in assets at the end of 2010.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect figure for 2009 earnings. The number has been updated.

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