Message from the President and CEO
As I sit down to write this year-end message in early April, countries around the world and our nation are gripped by the COVID-19 virus. With over 95% of FCC’s employees working remotely from home, we’ve rapidly redesigned our processes, leveraging telephone and digital technologies to continue to serve the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry effectively and efficiently. It is an unprecedented time for everyone, and it remains too early to speculate on the ultimate social and economic impacts from the pandemic. What I can confirm is this: I’ve never been prouder of the 2,000 employees who make up the team at FCC, for their professionalism, perseverance and agility to evolve and thrive during this incredibly challenging time. This pride also extends to the entire Canadian agriculture and food industry that has stepped up to ensure Canadians and citizens around the world have the safe, quality and abundant food they require to sustain themselves and their families.
Nevertheless, this report is about the activities of FCC for the full 2019-20 fiscal year, ending March 31, 2020. With the COVID-19 situation escalating in Canada in March, the impacts on the organization’s performance are limited, and we anticipate it to have a much more substantive effect in 2020-21.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, 2019-20 was an eventful year for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry. While continuing to grow and thrive, the industry was tested with interruption of trade and unfavourable fall and spring weather in many parts of the country. I’m continuously impressed by how the industry and our customers demonstrate ingenuity, resilience and optimism even in the face of challenging times, COVID-19 being no exception. FCC is 100% focused on agriculture and agri-food and we stand by our customers and work to support them through these difficult periods.
We celebrated our 60th anniversary at FCC this year and it was a great opportunity to reflect on our organization’s history as well as plan for the future. We embarked on an ambitious rebranding effort to express what’s at the heart of what we do – and that’s our desire to help our customers be successful. The result of this work and consultation with our customers and employees is our new tagline: Dream. Grow. Thrive.
Our mandate also reflects this desire to ensure the success of our customers and the industry both in the short term and long term. As a self-sustaining federal Crown corporation, we lend money and provide other services to primary producers, food operations and agribusinesses that provide inputs or add value to the agriculture and agri-food value chain. We share business management knowledge and training with our customers, free of charge. We offer insurance, venture capital and farm management software specialized to the needs of our customers.
Our financial performance in 2019-20 was positive. Our team of employees worked hard to support our close to 100,000 customers from coast to coast. We continued to deliver an exceptional customer experience with a Net Promoter Score® of 71 to finish the fiscal year. Reflecting a continued investment in growth and technology, our loan portfolio grew to $38.6 billion. Over 98.95% of our loans are performing.
We advanced our corporate strategy this year, under the theme of Building for the Future. We made great progress in redefining FCC’s customer-centric strategy, taking our agribusiness and agri-food and next generation strategies to market, advancing our customer digital strategy, as well as leveraging our data to enhance customer service and organizational effectiveness. We announced new partnerships for our AgExpert software in 2019-20, creating a data lab with Olds College in Alberta and an exciting integration with the John Deere Operations Center. Also, to assist customers and non-customers through multi-generational transitions, we rolled out regional Agriculture Transition Specialists across the country, in addition to transition planning resource material available on fcc.ca.
It was an important year for our public support of the industry. We acted as catalysts for the fourth annual Canada’s Agriculture Day on February 11, 2020, bringing together hundreds of industry partners and thousands of individual “agvocates” to raise awareness of and pride for Canadian agriculture and food. Events were held in communities nationwide and we reached millions of Canadians through social media.
Corporate social responsibility is a key driver of our strategy because at FCC, how we do things is as important as what we do. We’ve already made great strides toward operating sustainably and supporting the industry to do the same. We’ve advanced our strategy related to environmental targets, mental health programs, women in agriculture and our approach to supporting customer integrity and sustainability. FCC remains committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work. Our 16th annual Drive Away Hunger campaign set a new record, providing over 16.2 million meals for food banks and food programs across the country. Our FCC AgriSpirit Fund contributed $1.5 million to 94 community projects across Canada in 2019-20. In February 2020, responding to multiple requests from customers and industry partners for additional copies, we updated and reprinted our Rooted in Strength booklet containing mental health information, best practices and ways to seek help if you’re struggling. This booklet was distributed to every farm mailbox in Canada.
Looking ahead to our 2020-21 strategy, we’re focused on expanding our support of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector as well as Indigenous groups interested in entering the agriculture and agri-food marketplace. We’ve also embarked on an enterprise-wide strategy to reimagine how we deliver the best possible customer experience, and support our employees to deliver on that promise, each and every time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a long shadow on our industry, but I remain optimistic. This industry has always been resilient, and we will continue to be. Meanwhile, the global importance of Canadian food products has never been clearer. COVID-19 has changed the way we see the world, but FCC’s reason for being remains the same. We intend to be there for the industry and our customers to ensure Canada’s agriculture and agri-food producers can continue to dream, grow and thrive.