Summary of Major Terms and Conditions
Effective Date December 1, 2018
RateWise™ (the "Program") offers participants the ability to earn educational credits for participating in seminars and workshops that enhance their financial, business or production management. Credits accumulate and may be applied to interest rate reductions on new loans from Northwest FCS.
Northwest Farm Credit Services, FLCA and Northwest Farm Credit Services PCA (referred to in this document jointly as “Northwest FCS”). Northwest FCS is a federally chartered instrumentality of the United States and is subject to the requirements of the federal Farm Credit Act of 1971, as amended, and the regulations of the Farm Credit Administration. The Program is administered by Northwest FCS Vice President - AgVision® and includes Northwest FCS Business Management Center (“BMC”) programming.
Who May Participate?
All eligible young, beginning and small producers may participate. Participants may include customers and non-customers. A participant must be (a) eligible to borrower from Northwest FCS in its chartered territory; (b) offer eligible collateral; and (c) qualify as a young, beginning or small producer or current AgVision participant. Northwest FCS will determine all questions concerning eligibility to borrow, the scope of financing, the eligibility of collateral and qualifications under the Program.
Loans Subject to the Program
Select loan types made by Northwest FCS that qualify for the program include long-term real estate loans, short-term operating loans and intermediate-term loans. The interest programs available under the RateWise program may be fixed or variable rates. Credits earned under the RateWise program may not be used for leasing products offered through CoBank Farm Credit Leasing and AgDirect loans (equipment financing) offered by Farm Credit Services America, or loans made by Northwest FCS under its Country Home Loan program.
How Do I Register?
Eligible producers must register online according to Northwest FCS procedures outlined on its website. Online registration is the sole manner of registering and certifying for credits. Unless approved in writing by Northwest FCS, no other form of documentation may be used for the Program.
What Educational Credits Apply to the Program?
RateWise-approved programming takes three forms: 1) Northwest FCS BMC programs, 2) University and Industry/Commodity Groups and 3) all other programs meeting Northwest FCS requirements. RateWise programming is pre-eligible if it develops target audiences’ financial, business or production management.
Participation in and/or completion of degreed programming, regardless of the level of the degree, is not eligible.
How Are Credits Earned?
Credits are allocated along the following scales:
- Northwest FCS Business Management Center programs - 1 credit per hour of content.
- Other programs (e.g., university and industry) - .5 credit per hour of content.
- Note Credit granted for in-person and online courses is the same.
RateWise enrollees are responsible for requesting credit certification by submitting proof of attendance on the RateWise program website. Information submitted through the portal must include course length and date, as well as an agenda or similar documentation to describe the nature of the course. Customers should allow 7-14 days to process new credit submissions. Rapid credit accumulation shortly before loan closing is strongly discouraged.
- 10 credits: 0.25% interest rate reduction for three years
- 20 credits: 0.50% interest rate reduction for three years
- 30 credits: 0.75% interest rate reduction for three years
How May Credits Be Used?
Credits earned under the Program apply only to the person who earned them. The credits have no cash value, may not be assigned or subjected to any liens and may not be transferred to other persons. Credits may not be apportioned, with the exception of annual operating line renewals. In the case of operating lines, credits may be applied to the renewed operating line for the next two consecutive years. Unused years of credits may not be applied to other loans. In no event will the credits applied to a loan result in an interest rate of less than zero.
- Interest rate reductions increase with credits and are for a specified period.
- 10 credits: 0.25% interest rate reduction for 3 years
- 20 credits: 0.50% interest rate reduction for 3 years
- 30 credits: 0.75% interest rate reduction for 3 years
- Credits will continue in effect in the event there is a default under the applicable loan, but the interest rate under the loan will be subject to all of the other terms of the loan, including default interest charges.
How Are Credits Certified?
Program participants submit certificates of completion, including program agendas, online. Eligible programming must have occurred in the most recent 12 months prior to RateWise registration. Northwest FCS confirms the credits. The Vice President - AgVision answers credit questions and approves exceptions.
All loans are subject to underwriting by Northwest FCS according to its underwriting standards. All loans are also subject to Northwest FCS customary due diligence and closing requirements (lien searches, title insurance (if applicable), required lien priority). The loan applicant may be required to pay loan fees and other out-of-pocket transaction costs incurred by Northwest FCS. No commitment, express or implied, to finance an applicant is made solely because they participate in the Program. Credits earned are not retroactive. They may be applied only to new loans and renewed operating loans, but not existing loans. Only one discount may be applied to a loan.
Application of RateWise interest rate reductions requires creditworthiness on the part of the primary customer. Spouses may be required to execute loan documents, if required under Northwest FCS underwriting standards, and a spousal signature will not disqualify a participant from the Program.
Credits accumulate for each note signor on a loan; credits from the same qualifying event may be used by each note signor on a loan subject to the limitations regarding use set out above (e.g., husband and wife attend an approved conference – they may each accumulate credits and the combined credits may be used on a loan for which they are both note signors). The Program has no cap (i.e. a dollar amount loan volume or absolute dollars in interest reduction). Program participants are eligible beginning at the date of Program registration. Program participants are eligible for program benefits through their completion of the AgVision® program, even if program eligibility requirements of young, beginning and/or small are no longer met. Program benefits expire at the end of the AgVision program term, provided, loans closed during the period of eligibility will receive interest rate reductions for three full years.
Loans made under the Program will also be subject to the membership requirements of Northwest FCS’ By-laws.
Changes to the Program
Northwest FCS reserves the right to modify or amend the Program in any respect or to terminate the Program entirely at its sole discretion without notice. Northwest FCS also reserves the right to modify or amend the Program in the event of a change in the laws or regulations that govern its activities, without notice. Northwest FCS will endeavor to notify persons in the Program of changes but has no obligation to provide such notice. Once a loan has closed with the earned interest rate credit, that credit will not be disturbed (except for expiring credits). Northwest FCS may limit the use of credits to any types of loans which may qualify for such credits in the future if changes in laws, regulations or its lending policies occur (i.e., real estate loans only).
Rules Regarding Entities
A borrower organized as a legal entity may qualify for the Program if it is a closely held family corporation (or other legal entity). Restrictions may be placed on the ability of the owners to transfer interests in the entity. In no event will an entity whose interests are publicly held qualify for the Program.
Accuracy of Information
Participants in the Program represent and warrant to Northwest FCS that they will provide true, accurate and complete information concerning the credits. Each participant authorizes Northwest FCS to verify the accuracy of their certifications and agree to provide proof of their attendance in the activities relating to the credits. If any information relating to the certifications should be materially incorrect, Northwest FCS shall be entitled to the remedies in the loan documents and may prohibit that person from further participation in the Program and may cancel any available but unused credits.
Use of Information
Northwest FCS may release information regarding applicants to those entities it is required to release information to, according to law.
Washington law will govern any legal determinations.
Participant must check the box accepting these terms and conditions on Northwest FCS’ online RateWise registration form (northwestfcs.com/RateWise) to acknowledge participant has read the above terms and conditions and understands the same. Participant shall have the ability to make inquiries to Northwest FCS to obtain answers to their questions prior to checking the box. THIS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN APPLICATION FOR CREDIT. TO APPLY FOR CREDIT, AN APPLICATION TO NORTHWEST FARM CREDIT SERVICES ON ITS APPROVED FORM IS REQUIRED.
ORAL AGREEMENTS OR ORAL COMMITMENTS TO LOAN MONEY, EXTEND CREDIT, OR TO FORBEAR FROM ENFORCING REPAYMENT OF A DEBT ARE NOT ENFORCEABLE UNDER WASHINGTON LAW.