The first few months of this year have come and gone, and as we approach the mid-way point of 2019, I am happy to say things are looking great at Farm Credit of Florida. We are continuing our business plan goal of making your Association Bigger, Better and Stronger in 2019.
The past few years have been ones of tremendous growth for our Association. Six years ago Farm Credit of Florida was a $900 million dollar Association, and today we are a $1.2 billion dollar Association. This achievement is only possible through strong loan growth. We increased our loan growth by 3% in 2018 and I am proud to announce we are continuing this growth thus far in 2019.
We have opened two new offices, LaBelle and Lake Placid, to provide our members with local service. We have expanded our crop insurance department to continue to grow the services we are able to provide to our member and we have created a new Lifestyle Lending division to enhance our efficiency in making consumer loans. By increasing our loan volume, opening new branches, and expanding our consumer lending department I am proud to say that we are a BIGGER association.
Six years ago our Association was just a few years out of a merger with credit quality around 79%. Today I am proud to say that we have increased our credit quality to 98%, which is considered excellent for an association of our size. With a jump from 79% to 98% in just a few years, I can confidently say we are a BETTER association.
Return on Assets, or more commonly known as ROA, is a ratio used by financial institutions to indicate their strength in earnings. If you have an ROA of 1% you are doing well. If you have an ROA of 1.5% you are doing really well. If you have an ROA of 2% or better, you are doing great. Your Association’s ROA was over 2% for 2018 and remains that way through today.
Another way we measure strength in a financial institution is by the amount of capital it has. You take everything you own, minus everything you owe, and you get your net worth. We are a very strong financial institution with over $270 million in capital. There is also strength in earnings, and our net income for 2018 was over $25 million dollars! With strong ROA, strong capital, and strong net income, we are a STRONGER Association.
So today I can proudly report to you that we are a BIGGER, BETTER and STRONGER Association than we have ever been. As a result, we are able to pay back to you, the Stockholder, a record $12.5 million cash patronage in 2019. At Farm Credit of Florida, we put our profits in your pocket. If you paid us 12 monthly payments, we are paying almost 3 months of interest back to you. No other bank is going to do that!
As we head into the second half of 2019, we are going to keep working hard to provide consistent credit to hard working farm families across the state of Florida. None of our success would be possible without you, our members. I wish you all a safe and prosperous finish to your 2019 growing season, and please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to ensure your operation’s continued success.
President and Chief Executive Officer