From our intern - Courtney Thornton

Release date: 8/1/2018

This summer has gone by fast! As my internship draws to a close and I reflect back on what I have learned, I realize what a great opportunity this has been. 

This summer has gone by fast! As my internship draws to a close and I reflect back on what I have learned, I realized what a great opportunity this has been. I have gotten hands-on exposure to many different positions within AgCarolina. I have worked alongside loan officers, credit analysts, member support specialists, the marketing team, and others.  I believe the best way to learn is by doing, and sitting with different staff members allowed me to learn first-hand. 

 I was able to sit with a loan officer to see a customer walk in the door, listen to their general questions about becoming a member of AgCarolina, how the loan process works, review their financial documents, fill out their application, and then follow it through the approval process. I attended loan closings at the attorney’s office, in the office, and on the farm.  I sat alongside an appraiser for a Sanderson Farms broiler facility to learn when an appraisal is necessary, what information is included in an appraisal, and how it is used for loan collateral and to calculate the loan to value ratio. The agricultural appraisal reports can be very long documents! When working with the member support specialists, I assisted them with posting customer payments and uploading all loan documents into AgDocs.  I collaborated with the marketing team to streamline their social media calendar for the next quarter, brainstormed ideas for new marketing efforts, and put together new member brochure packets to distribute to the 12 branches of AgCarolina Farm Credit.

When I was not spending time with the other staff, I was working on our assigned intern projects with the other interns. We updated the equipment sales database that is used for collateral evaluations, since there is not a lot of comparable farm equipment information.  We collected data from loan officers, Farm Credit Express, and local auction companies. Our second project was to create a workshop for loan officers to present to local high school students about important personal finance concepts. We created a textbook and workbook for the students to attend in a two-day workshop setting or a longer, one-day setting. We included topics such as: types of checking/savings accounts, financial goal setting, how to create a budget, career planning, credit and loans, and retirement. We chose these topics from information that we learned in college that we wished we had known earlier. We acquired our information from each other, professors at NC State and Virginia Tech, AgCarolina staff, and the internet.  I thoroughly enjoyed this project because I can see how impactful it may be to the students, considering that some of them may not go to college, or be introduced to the information by their parents. This workshop will be beneficial for student’s personal lives or if they plan to take over a family business or start their own business.  Putting together this workshop taught me several new things and reinforced the importance of starting early with retirement savings!

Working in the Smithfield branch this summer has exposed me to a professional office setting and shown me how they all work together to make loans for farmers/ agribusiness owners and rural North Carolinians. Everyone has been so welcoming and a pleasure to work with. At first I was nervous to ask too many questions, but I have now realized the importance of asking questions. This assures that I am learning and understanding how to do the task correctly. My branch manager appreciated me asking questions because it allowed me to know what I should expect to see within loan documents and could assure that information was there and correct. Without open communication within the office, I am not sure how anything would be accomplished, it really is a team effort.  I appreciate all of the staff teaching me about what role they play in the loan process.

There is really something to be said about sharing meals with someone and the bond that it creates. I am appreciative that when we go to lunch, someone will say a blessing before we eat. The branch has a close-knit, family feel that I have really enjoyed. I look forward to finishing my senior year at NC State, but I will surely miss working here every day!

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