The Farm Credit System clearly has no affiliation to the US Department of Education but has this GSE become the newest federal student loan provider?
Many signs point to “yes” as a quick survey of the websites of numerous FCS associations turn up promotions on their websites loans for “college tuition.”
The ambiguity of these offerings raises serious questions over their size and scope. Most alarming though are the broad, unanswered questions about how and why the publicly-backed agricultural lender has come to participate in student loans while, at the same time, the farmers it was intended to serve continue to be neglected.
Student loans can be risky for lenders, no matter whether they are public or private. But common sense dictates that a $283 billion GSE that received the first-ever federal bailout should stay as far away as possible from these loans.
And yet it gets worse.
In a brash display of mission creep, Cape Fear Farm Credit and Farm Credit of Central Florida are also promoting and evidently in the business of financing boats, airplanes, condominiums and vacation homes, including second homes on the beach and “that mountain retreat you’ve always wanted.”
Why the Farm Credit Administration has failed to step in is anyone’s guess. Leave it to the FCS to thumb its nose at Congress by defying any sense of its intended role or purpose as mandated by the Farm Credit Act.
While unfortunate, maybe these loans are the impetus needed for Congress to finally interject its authority to perform necessary oversight.